Jun 16 2016

Did Your Newborn Infant Suffer from a Brachial Plexus Injury?

Childbirth is stressful enough for expectant parents. What can make it a traumatic experience for them is to find that their infant has suffered brachial plexus injuries during the childbirth process.

The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that conducts signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm and hand. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), during birth, brachial plexus injuries occur when the infant’s shoulder gets caught at the pubic bone during delivery, or the doctor tries to force the baby out by pulling too hard, causing the baby’s brachial plexus nerves to become stretched or torn. The child may suffer from paralysis of either the upper brachial plexus (known as Erb-Duchenne, or Erb’s, palsy) or the lower brachial plexus, which is referred to as Dejerine-Klumpke (or Klumpke’s) palsy. Those with Erb’s palsy may lose motion around the shoulder and around the elbow, according to Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, while those with Klumpke’s palsy cannot move their wrist or hand.

Johns Hopkins Medicine lists six different types of brachial plexus injuries. The prognosis for recovery for each of these injuries is dependent on how complex and severe the injury is. They are:

  • Avulsion — this occurs when the nerve is torn from the spine. Prognosis: no chance for recovery
  • Rupture — the nerve is partially torn and stretched, but not at the spinal attachment
  • Neurapraxia — the nerve is gently stretched or compressed, but not torn. Prognosis: excellent
  • Axonotemesis — the axons (long, slender projections of a nerve cell or neuron) have been cut. Prognosis: moderate
  • Neurotemesis — the entire nerve has been cut. Prognosis: poor
  • Neuroma — the nerve has torn and is now healed, but a tumor has grown from a mass of severed axons, which fail to regenerate. Prognosis: depends on the number of axons that regenerate

Although some of these injuries can heal by the time the child is three to four months old, treatment for brachial plexus injuries includes physical therapy and, in some cases, surgery, according to NINDS.

If your newborn child has been injured or suffered brachial plexus injuries due to a doctor or hospital’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Seeking the guidance of an experienced attorney is vital in protecting your rights. Contact the dedicated, experienced attorneys at Alegria & Barovick LLP for the representation you deserve. Call (914) 761-1133.

Jun 9 2016

What Health Problems are Associated with Birth Hypoxia?

Birth hypoxia occurs when the fetus does not receive sufficient oxygen to the brain. This has been known to cause fetal brain injury, the most serious being hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), or perinatal asphyxia. An article from Medscape revealed that, depending on the severity of HIE, babies can show certain symptoms such as seizures, excessive crying or sleepiness, lethargy, irregular breathing, stupor, or coma.

However, a majority of babies with the most severe case of HIE do not survive. In fact, according to an article published by The Janov Primal Center For Treatment, up to 75% of infants with severe HIE die of multiple organ failure or lung infections. Those who survive often grow up with symptoms such as mental retardation, epilepsy and cerebral palsy.

Research from the Janov Primal Center further shows the fetus’ growth is slowed down when birth hypoxia occurs in early gestation, resulting in a low birth weight for the baby. Those with lower birth weight grow up to suffer from various health problems such as depression, anxiety, phobias, suicidal thoughts, shyness, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and hypertension.

The University of Maryland Medical Center suggests that certain tests can determine the cause of the hypoxia, which can usually be diagnosed based on the person’s medical history and a physical exam. These include angiograms, blood tests, CT scans, echocardiograms, electrocardiograms, evoked potentials (tests that determine whether certain sensations such as vision and touch reach the brain) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

If your newborn child suffered birth hypoxia injuries due to a doctor or hospital’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Seeking the guidance of an experienced attorney is vital in protecting your rights. Contact the dedicated, experienced attorneys at Alegria & Barovick LLP for the representation you deserve. Call (914) 761-1133.

Jun 2 2016

CDC: Medical Errors Lead in Deaths behind Heart Disease, Cancer

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University Medical School have found that, of the 2,597,000 deaths that occurred in the United States in 2013, an astounding 251,000 were attributed to medical errors. That accounted for 9.7% of all deaths and is the third-leading cause of death. The findings were reported by The British Medical Journal.

The article cited data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control which placed medical errors behind heart disease (611,000) and cancer (575,000) and ahead of COPD (149,000), and suicide (41,000), followed by motor vehicles and firearms (34,000 each). The list of common causes of death are determined using death certificates filled out by physicians, funeral directors, medical examiners and coroners. However, the death certificates rely on assigning an International Classification of Disease (ICD) code to the cause of death. This led the researchers to believe that the number of deaths arising from medical errors are grossly underestimated.

The researchers defined medical error as “an unintended act (either of omission of commission) or one that does not achieve its intended outcome, the failure of a planned action to be completed as intended (an error of execution), the use of a wrong plan to achieve an aim (an error of planning) or a deviation from the process of care that may or may not cause harm to the patient.” They also wrote that, while a medical error may not be consequential, “an error can end the life of someone with a long life expectancy or accelerate an imminent death.”

They further acknowledge that human error is unavoidable, but it can be reduced by putting more and better safety protocols in place. These include:

  • Making errors more visible when they occur so their effects can be intercepted
  • Having remedies at hand to rescue patients
  • Making errors less frequent by following principles that take human limitations into account

If you have been injured or had a loved one pass away due to a doctor or hospital’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Seeking the guidance of an experienced attorney is vital in protecting your rights. Contact the dedicated, experienced attorneys at Alegria & Barovick LLP for the representation you deserve. Call (914) 761-1133.

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