Articles Posted in Pregnancy Related Injuries

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Syracuse medical malpractice cases often come down to a “battle of the experts.” The case begins with the plaintiff’s medical professional witness testifying that the defendant failed to follow the standard of care and, as a result, harmed the patient.

The defendant then puts his or her own expert witness on the stand, and a very different opinion is given. The jury, as the finder of fact, has to resolve the conflicting testimony.

Sometimes, however, the case doesn’t make it that far. Via a process called “summary judgment,” the trial court may decide that the expert opinion offered by the plaintiff is not sufficient to get the case in front of a jury.

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Last time, we began looking at some of the risks of electing for a home birth, particularly at the role the midwife has to play in these risks. As we noted, lack of training really sets a certain type of midwife apart from midwives who go through more rigorous training.

The general risks of using a C.P.M, the lesser educated type of midwife, can be seen in the loose approach to ethics and the lack of safety standards taken by the Midwives Alliance of North American, the agency that certifies them.  Going with a C.P.M. might not be a problem in low-risk pregnancies, though even then couple should be very cautious, but for women at high risk, it is unwise to do so. 

Aside from lack of training, another risk factor with C.P.M.s is that it is illegal for them to practice in many states. In the state of New York, C.P.M.s may practice, but only after they become a licensed midwife. Earning a C.P.M. certification is not a direct route to licensure in New York. Rather, C.P.M.s in this state must demonstrate their credentials to the New York State Board of Midwifery. According to the New York State Education Department, Midwives must have the equivalent of a master’s degree, attend an accredited midwifery school, pass a certification exam, and have some training in newborn health, primary care, well-woman car, family planning and pharmacology.

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The way a couple chooses to give birth to a child is a very personal and potentially sensitive matter. Different couples have different approaches and opinions about what is best for the child, and what is most comfortable for the mother.

One of the options some couples have, depending on their interest, is home birth. It isn’t a particularly popular way to go—less than two percent of births are at home in most developed countries—but it is an option nevertheless. For those who do choose to go with a home birth, it is important to realize there are certain risks involved. 

For instance, some data shows that babies born in planned home births are about seven times more likely to die than babies born in hospitals, while other studies show a death rate about three times higher than hospital births. The studies suggest that racial and economic differences, as well as the quality of prenatal care, is not a factor here.

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Certain rulings in medical malpractice cases can set a precedent for cases in the future. That’s why it’s important for attorneys who work with medical malpractice victims to keep up on incoming and current cases. The outcome of a recent medical malpractice case involving an obstetrics and gynecology doctor may set an example for how such cases could be handled in New York and across the United States.

The case involves the death of a fetus that resulted from a procedure performed by the doctor. According to the case, the doctor ruptured a woman’s fetal membrane as she was “trying to remove an intrauterine birth control device.” The doctor failed to check if the woman was pregnant before performing the procedure.

The ruptured membrane caused the woman to go into labor and she delivered her 22-week-old fetus. That fetus apparently died less than a couple of hours later.

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Medical research is essentially the lifeblood of innovation. Without it, medical professionals likely do not learn more about what ails their patients or how to avoid certain conditions before they become problems. Indeed, medical research is important in combating various forms of cancer and learning how different drugs and treatments affect it. The same could be said about other non-fatal conditions such as depression and diabetes.

While such research is prominent among men, it is interesting to note how women have historically been excluded from such research, particularly pregnant women. According to a report, pregnant women have been overlooked out of a generalized fear that particular medications would negatively affect the unborn child residing in its mother’s womb.

 Additionally, the traditional notion of having pregnant women discontinue medications out of an abundance of caution for the fetus has also affected the number of pregnant women in clinical trials. This begs the question of whether pregnant women should continue to be excluded from medical research. After all, previous prohibitions were made because of the lack of information about certain drugs and their affects.

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For most prospective mothers, pregnancy can be a scary, yet exciting time in their lives. After all, they are going to be bringing a new life into the world, and they want to do everything they can to make sure their little baby is safe and healthy in their womb. Because of this, some moms will be hypochondriacs and alert doctors to every pain and discomfort they feel.

While keeping one’s doctor informed is prudent, diagnosing and assessing pain during pregnancy can be difficult. This is because obstetric and non-obstetric  pain can have similar symptoms and can be confusing to physicians. For example, a woman who complains of pain can just be experiencing abdominal soreness or simply gas, or pre-term labor or an intra-aminotic infection. 

Despite this difficulty, obstetricians have several ways to make distinctions between obstetric and non-obstetric pain. First, keeping a detailed history of previous examinations along with effective physical examinations can help in ruling out critical ailments without the need for more invasive (and potentially harmful) methods.

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The fear of autism in an unborn child is a very real concern for pregnant mothers; especially those who carry the common risk factors along with a child in their womb. Expectant mothers who are over 35 or have weight concerns or other metabolic issues such as diabetes or hypertension are prime candidates for giving birth to autistic children.

However, there is hope for mothers who have these concerns. According to a study published last fall in the American Journal of Epidemiology, taking iron supplements could reduce the risk of giving birth to a child with autism. 

According to past studies about autism, iron deficiency (and resulting anemia) is a very common nutrient deficiency that affects almost half of all pregnant women and their children. Since iron is essential to early brain development and neurotransmitter production, and the lack of iron can affect this development, it has been found that autism could be linked to iron deficiencies.

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While we have focused a number of our posts on car accidents, as medical malpractice attorneys, we also handle cases where pregnancy injuries are misdiagnosed or mistreated. While it is uncommon for pregnant women to be involved in car accidents, they do occur; and in these instances, medical personnel must be ready and available to take extra precautions when assessing the extent of injuries to both mother and child.

After all, trauma is the most common form of non-obstetric deaths in the United States; and one of the most common causes of trauma is car accidents. Because of this, doctors who evaluate a pregnant woman who has been in a car accident should keep this possibility in mind to rule out potential issues.

As such this post will highlight a few things that pregnant patients should expect during a post crash evaluation.

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With all the research conducted on chronic health conditions such as depression, diabetes and hypertension, it is interesting how little, if any, research is done to see how treatments or drugs that abate these conditions would affect pregnant women.

According to a recent report, there is a significant gap of knowledge on how medications affect pregnant women because they have been historically excluded from medical research. This is due, in large part, to the notion that pregnant women should avoid taking a number of medicines out of fear that it would adversely affect the fetus. Nevertheless, a woman who fails to continue necessary medications, or fails to begin a prescribed treatment may run into the same risks. 

The reality is, women are having children at older ages, and chronic medical conditions are more common. Because of this, stopping medication may not be the best option for an expectant mother. Additionally, if a pregnant woman has more information about the benefits and drawbacks of a medicine or treatment, chances are that staying the course could improve her short-term (and long term) health while minimizing the potential complications to the baby.

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There is no denying the fact that a cesarean section can be convenient. Instead of having to wait and wait for a baby to come, parents can schedule a C-section. Instead of having to go through a long labor, mothers can have a C-section and be taken to recovery. Though convenient, C-sections should only be used when absolutely necessary, and according to the World Health Organization, countries should not have C-section rates higher than 15 percent. The U.S., however, delivers one in three children by C-section.

Not only do C-sections potentially expose children to higher risks of asthma, juvenile diabetes, breathing problems and allergies, the procedure can also seriously injure mothers. In some cases, if a mother is hurt in the process of a having a C-section, she may sue her obstetrician for personal injury.

One reason that researchers believe has caused the spike in the number of C-sections is medical professionals’ fear of medical malpractice lawsuits. Some doctors are quick to recommend C-sections if there is a risk that a delay in birth could cause a birth injury. If doctors were better able to tell when C-sections were actually necessary, however, this could potentially be avoided.

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