Medical Negligence and Malpractice
At The Thompson Law Firm, we have obtained successful verdicts and settlements in even the most complex cases. Review our past case results to see how Attorney H. Lee Thompson's experience can benefit you.
CEREBRAL PALSY CASE
Attorney H. Lee Thompson secured a $3.4 million settlement in a Cerebral Palsy case that began in 1997 and was settled in February of 2005. The case involved nursing, obstetrical malpractice, and failing to timely deliver a fetal distress baby. As a result, the child suffered neurological and brain injuries and is permanently paralyzed.
If your child suffers from cerebral palsy due to medical negligence that resulted in brain damage, contact Ohio Cerebral Palsy lawyer H. Lee Thompson. Attorney Thompson will take immediate action to investigate your claim.
Brachial Plexus Palsy (BPP) is also known as Erb's Palsy or Brachial Plexus Injury (BPI). The brachial plexus is a group of nerves that control the fingers, hand, wrist, elbow, arm, and shoulder. Stretching, tearing, or other trauma can cause this type of injury, resulting in full to partial paralysis of one or both arms.
If your newborn's arm is notably weak or completely paralyzed, your child may have Erb's Palsy. The cause of this injury is usually the stretching of one or both sides of the neck during a difficult delivery. Nerves that are stretched result in more minor brachial plexus injuries, but if the muscles are tom or pulled out of its socket, injuries may be more serious and surgery may be required to restore function of the muscles.
Erb's Palsy can occur during the birthing process if the infant was pulled or contorted by medical staff during delivery. However, it can also be caused by a range of accidents. If your loved one has suffered a Brachial Plexus injury and you live in Ohio, contact an Erb's Palsy lawyer today. Attorney H. Lee Thompson at The Thompson Law Firm has experience litigating Erb's Palsy cases and may be able to help you seek compensation. ·
Risk factors for Erb's Palsy (without occurrence of shoulder dystocia)
• Uterine tumors
• Tumors in the neck of the baby
• Viral disease
• Other abnormalities
• Breech fetal position at time of birth
THE FIRST WEEKS OF LIFE
During the first few weeks of life, handle your baby's neck and arm carefully. Be aware of the positioning of your baby's arm, especially when you lift or carry him or her. Family, friends, and caretakers will need to be taught that pulling or lifting by the arm can cause further injury and pain.
DOCTORS AND THERAPISTS
One of the first steps you may wish to consider is to make an appointment with a pediatric neurologist experienced in brachial plexus injuries to define the nature of your child's injuries and whether there are any further complications.
Schedule an appointment with a physical or occupational therapist to learn how to do range of motion (ROM) exercises with each diaper change to keep your child's joints from becoming stiff. A regular schedule of therapy will also begin at this time. It is best to select a therapist who has thorough knowledge of brachial plexus injuries and is experience in making splints.
There are a number of specialists who treat the victims of Brachial Plexus injuries and Erb's palsy. It is important to research and choose your doctor based on their experience and credentials because it is the doctor's evaluation of your child's movements that will determine the severity of their injury. Our experienced Ohio Erb's Palsy birth injury lawyer, Attorney H. Lee Thompson, can advise you of your legal options no matter how severe the injuries are. Contact The Thompson Law Firm for an evaluation of your Erb's Palsy case.
TIMEFRAME FOR RECOVERY
The timeframe for surgical repair is a very important factor for recovery. Within 12 to 18 months of the injury, the muscles that have not already been innervated will have atrophied to the point where innervation is no longer possible.
It is important to contact a pediatric brachial plexus or Erb's palsy specialist as early as possible so that appointments can be scheduled. Wait lists are common at larger clinics.
The neurosurgical techniques most often used to repair a severe injury are exploration of the brachial plexus nerves; testing the nerves to see if the brain is receiving messages from them (EMG); removal of the scar tissue that has formed around the nerve(neuroma); and, if necessary, nerve grafting. This first surgery called "primary surgery" is done between the ages of six weeks and 12 months depending on the protocol of the clinic you choose and the severity of the injury.
The timeframe for filing a lawsuit in Ohio for Erb's Palsy cases is typically two years. A lawyer can advise you whether your Erb's Palsy case is still valid.
HANDLING MEDICAL COSTS
Contact your health insurance company to see if they have a program for children with special needs. Your state may have programs that will give your child access to free or low cost in-home therapies. In some states, it is called Early Intervention (EI) and covers children from birth to three years of age. Medicaid programs may give you an option for free or low cost secondary insurance. Your health insurance may cover travel to out-of-state clinics. If not, free or discounted medical airfare is available from many airlines.
Emotions will be strong during the first few years of your child's life. The best support can come from a counselor who is experienced at the issues of having a special needs child and from other families who have had similar experiences. A local support group can be very helpful for the entire family. Also, there are some very good Erb's Palsy websites to visit to gain information and support. Anger, sadness, and grief are normal and important emotions.
If your child suffers from Erb's Palsy due to medical negligence, contact The Thompson Law Firm in Ohio for an experienced Erb's Palsy lawyer. You need an attorney like H. Lee Thompson on your side to protect the rights of you and your child and to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Contact Erb's Palsy lawyer H. Lee Thompson today for a free consultation.
Possible Delivery Emergencies During Pregnancy
LATE DECELERATIONS AND BRADYCARDIA
Abnormally low fetal heart rate (FHR) tracing in labor can signal problems with the fetus prior to delivery. Late decelerations are defined as a prolonged slowing of the FHR after a uterine contraction. Fetal Bradycardia is defined as a prolonged slowing ofthe FHR not necessarily associated with uterine contractions. Fetal Bradycardia episodes aresometimes referred to as FHR decelerations. Often, the FHR is closely monitored forabnormalities. Although there are some types of FHR decelerations that are normal during labor, there are some that alert fetal stress and require further investigation. Sometimes the FHR will slow down and remain down and not return to its usual level. This is a threatening condition that demands immediate delivery by Caesarean section. Parents should schedule a consultation with an experienced birth injury lawyer to review medical records whenever a baby suffers permanent brain injury as a result of late decelerations or bradycardia during labor.
Prematurity is defined as the birth of an infant prior to the baby reaching the 37th week of gestation. One out of eight babies in the United States is born prematurely. Premature birth is the leading cause of newborn death. The following conditions in expectant mothers carry an increased risk of premature delivery and require careful monitoring during pregnancy:
Expectant mothers who previously gave premature birth.
Expectant mothers who are expecting twins or more.
Expectant mothers who are experiencing pre-term labor in current pregnancy.
Expectant mothers who previously had a pregnancy loss in the second trimester, between 13 and 23 weeks.
Expectant mothers with an abnormality of the uterus; e.g., a heart-shaped uterus.
Expectant mothers with an abnormality of the cervix; women at risk include those who have received a diagnosis of incompetent cervix, who have a history of surgery to their cervix, or who have a cervix that is found to be short when examined.
Expectant mothers who were exposed to the drug DEG when their mothers were pregnant with them.
Infants born with a low birth weight may require months of care in a neonatal intensive care unit. They may also be severely handicapped. Parents should consult an experienced birth injury attorney to review medical records if they believe that the premature birth was preventable. Contact our Ohio birth injury lawyer if you suspect your child suffered injuries as a result of negligence.
EMERGENCY CAESARIAN SECTION
A caesarian section is a procedure that involves surgical delivery of the baby through the abdomen. An estimated one out of every five births in the United States is performed via caesarian section. An emergency Caesarean would be performed if minutes remained before the threat of loss of life or damage became imminent. Events that can result in an emergency caesarian section include fetal distress, placenta previa, cephalopelvic disproportion (the baby is too large for the birth canal), failure to progress, genital herpes, multiple gestation, placental abruption, breech baby, excessive scarring from previous surgeries, placental insufficiency, and active preeclampsia. Most women are required to stay in the hospital for about four days after an emergency caesarian section. The birth rate of mothers who undergo a caesarian section is about three times higher than the death rate associated with a natural delivery. Parents should schedule a consultation with an experienced birth injury lawyer to review medical records whenever a baby and/or mother suffers a permanent injury as a result of emergency C-section delivery.
Uterine rupture usually does not occur during the initial pregnancy. However, when a vaginal birth is planned after a caesarean section, it increases the likelihood of the uterus being ruptured. Uterine rupture is a tearing of the uterine tissue, which can cause fetal bradycardia and maternal hemorrhage. Usually, an emergency C-section is required.
FAILURE TO PROGRESS AND DYSTOCIA
Failure to progress is defined as the fetal head being halted during the progression through the birth canal. Dystocia is defined as a difficult, slow progression of delivery. Dystocia is derived from the Greek words dys meaning difficult, painful, and abnormal, and tokos, meaning birth. The following are potential conditions that may cause slow progression of delivery or parturition:
Uterine contractions may not be strong or coordinated enough to expand the cervix and during the second stage of labor, voluntary muscles may push inadequately
The fetus may be lined up improperly to allow passage through the birth canal in addition to other complications with the fetus that can delay passage
The maternal bony pelvis may be too narrow to allow the baby to progress through the birth canal
The birth canal may have abnormalities that can obstruct fetal descent
If this condition lingers, the mother and baby can be in danger. The obstetrician may recommend delivery by C-section, forceps, emergency vacuum extraction, or other means.
EMERGENCY FORCEPS DELIVERY
Obstetric forceps are surgical instruments designed to grasp the fetal head to assist the birth of a child. Emergency forceps delivery is considered to be an operative delivery, due to the fact that surgical instruments are used. Obstetric forceps usage is declining, because obstetricians do not receive lengthy forceps delivery training during their residencies. Parents should schedule a consultation with an experienced birth injury lawyer to review the medical records whenever a baby suffers a permanent injury as a result of forceps delivery.
EMERGENCY VACUUM EXTRACTIN
Emergency vacuum extraction is defined as the removal of the fetus from the uterus or vagina at or near the end of pregnancy with a metal traction cup that is attached to the fetus's head. Negative pressure is applied and traction is made on a chain passed through the suction tube. This is considered to be an operative delivery. Improper usage of the vacuum extractor can result in injury to the infant, causing intracranial hemorrhage. Parents should schedule a consultation with an experienced birth injury lawyer to review medical records whenever a baby suffers permanent injury as a result of emergency vacuum extraction.
Eclampsia is defined as convulsions, seizures, and coma occurring in a pregnant or puerperal woman, associated with preeclampsia; i.e., with hypertension, edema, and/or proteinuria. There is no way of detecting which women with preeclampsia will suffer eclampsia. There are currently no preventative measures, although it is important for expectant mothers to have early and continuing prenatal care. Women who have suffered permanent mental or physical injury from eclampsia should schedule a consultation with an experienced birth injury attorney to review her medical records.
Shoulder dystocia occurs during birth when the shoulder of the fetus becomes trapped behind the top of the maternal pelvis (symphysis pubis), thus preventing delivery of the infant. It is defined by most obstetricians as any birth in which gentle downward traction of the fetal head fails to accomplish delivery. This condition cannot always be prevented and usually goes unnoticed until after the infant head has been delivered. When this condition occurs, the obstetrician must take immediate action. Obstetricians should be knowledgeable as to how to handle this emergency condition.
Although shoulder dystocia cannot always be prevented, the following are conditions that can cause the condition:
• Lengthy second stage of labor
• History of shoulders dystocia
• Large prior birth infant
• Large baby in current pregnancy over 8lbs. 14ozs.
• Short maternal stature
• Maternal weight gain (above 35lbs.)
• Baby overdue (40 weeks)
• Maternal obesity
• Gestational diabetes
• Maternal diabetes
• Short first stage of labor
• Contracted/flat maternal pelvis
Recognizing the conditions is the initial step in becoming knowledgeable about how to handle shoulder dystocia. After shoulder dystocia has been diagnosed, there are procedures that the obstetrician should perform:
• Obstetrician should immediately request help because the shoulder dystocia may not be easy to take care of
• Application of suprapubic pressure can sometimes bring the anterior shoulder into and through the pelvis
• Intentional fracturing of the clavicle to reduce the diameter of the shoulders
• Pushing the fetal head back up into the uterus by using the Cephalic replacement or Zavanelli maneuver
• Delivery of the posterior arm
• Utilizing the Woods (or corkscrew) maneuver, which involves pushing the posterior shoulder through a 180-degree clockwise
and/or counterclockwise arc
• Utilizing the McRobert's maneuver which is the hyperflexion of the mother's thighs onto her abdomen
Fractures of the clavicle or humorous, brachial plexus or other nerve injuries, asphyxia, and death are some of the fetal complications associated with shoulder dystocia. Parents should schedule a consultation with our experienced Ohio birth injury lawyer to review medical records whenever an infant suffers a permanent injury related to shoulder dystocia.
Placental abruption is a third trimester complication that results from the hemorrhage and accumulation of blood between the placenta and the wall of the uterus. This inevitably interferes with fetal oxygenation and often necessitates emergency C-section. It is also known as abruptio placenta, which is the premature separation of the placenta from the wall of the uterus. Placental abruption can be life threatening for both the expectant mother and infant if the bleeding is severe and necessary medical attention is delayed. With expedient and proper medical care, both the expectant mother and infant can fully recover. Women and infants who have suffered permanent injury as a result of placental abruption should schedule a consultation with an experienced birth injury lawyer to review their medical records.
Placental insufficiency is defined as failure of the placenta to deliver an adequate supply of nutrients and oxygen to the fetus and remove toxic wastes. The earlier the condition occurs in the pregnancy, the more severe it will become during the course of the pregnancy, possibly leading to intrauterine growth restriction. Pregnancy ultrasounds can be utilized to monitor the growth of the fetus and placenta. It is imperative that this condition is diagnosed early in the pregnancy, to prevent serious long-term side effects and decrease the risk for neurological and intellectual impairments such as cerebral palsy and seizures. Parents should schedule a consultation with an experienced birth injury lawyer whenever an infant suffers a permanent brain injury from placental insufficiency.
Postmaturity is gestation extending 43 weeks or longer, which is considered high risk and is sometimes associated with fetal dysmaturity. The normal length of pregnancy is 37 to 41 weeks. Usually obstetricians induce labor or perform a caesarean section. This condition creates a high risk for placental insufficiency and fetal wasting. The following conditions are a concern:
• If the baby is large, problems can occur
• Meconiuin aspiration - when an infant breathes in fluid containing the first stool
• Increased risks during labor and birth for a fetus with poor oxygen supply
• Amniotic fluid volume may decrease; the fetus may stop gaining weight and could actually lose weight
• Infant can become hypoglycemic due to having few glucose-producing stores
• Overgrowth of nails
• Dry, peeling skin
• Abundance of scalp hair
• Visible creases on palms and soles of feet
• Minimal fat deposits
• Green, brown, and yellow coloring of the skin from meconium staining
Parents should schedule a consultation with our experienced Ohio birth injury lawyer whenever an infant suffers an injury related to postmaturity.
AMNIOTIC FLUID EMERGENCY
Amniotic fluid is the fluid that surrounds the developing fetus within the amniotic sac. This environment cushions the baby from injury and plays an important role in fetal development. If the amniotic fluid and the membranes of the placenta become infected, it is known as chorioamnionitis. If the chorioamnionitis becomes severe, an emergency delivery is required. The condition of having an extremely low amount of amniotic fluid is called oligohdramnios, which is a strong indication that the infant's life is in jeopardy. This condition is closely associated with umbilical cord compression in the fetus and requires emergency delivery.
AMNIOTIC FLUID EMBOLISM
Amniotic fluid embolism (AFE) is the obstruction and constriction of pulmonary blood vessels by amniotic fluid entering the maternal circulation, causing obstetric shock. It commonly occurs during labor or post-delivery. It is imperative that mother and infant receive proper emergency care to prevent the loss of their lives. In the severest conditions, only the infant can be saved through an emergency C-section. If your child suffered a birth injury as a result of AFE, contact a lawyer for legal guidance today.
The fetus is connected to the placenta by the umbilical cord. On rare occasions, the cord can become entangled, twisted, or knotted, or perhaps even drop into the birth canal when membranes are ruptured, thus creating the need for an emergency delivery. When the umbilical cord becomes entangled, it can squeeze the blood vessels inside the cord, causing stoppage of the blood flow and creating a fatal condition for the fetus if left untreated. Cord accidents are the least common cause for emergency deliveries, but can result in a serious birth injury.
PREECLAMPSIA AND HELLP SYNDROME
Preeclampsia is a condition that occurs in up to 5 percent of pregnancies. It is a condition that consists of edema (swelling), hypertension, and albuminuria. The cause of preeclampsia is unknown and there is no known treatment. Preeclampsia is a known
cause for premature delivery and intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR). The progressionof this condition can be slowed with bed rest, magnesium sulfate, and other treatments. Sometimes the condition lingers after delivery and can cause kidney failure, seizures, and other serious conditions in the mother.
Hemolysis-elevated liver enzymes - low platelet count (HELLP) syndrome is often misdiagnosed initially. Early diagnosis is necessary due to morbidity and mortality rates reported to be as high as 25 percent. It is a preeclamptic or eclamptic disorder with the findings shown in the clinical description from which the acronym is created. Severe hypertension may be present. Some women require blood transfusions. Women who have reached term should be delivered. However, women who have not reached full term should be closely monitored. HELLP syndrome has been known to be associated with poor maternal and fetal outcome in the third trimester, so the obstetrician must act promptly. The D-dimer test has been known to be helpful for the early identification of women with preeclampsia, which could lead to severe HELLP syndrome. Contact our Ohio birth injury lawyer for more information.
Placenta previa is defined as the anatomic positioning of the placenta over the cervical opening to the birth canal. This condition has been known to occur in about one in 200 pregnancies. This is an important cause of painless third trimester bleeding in the pregnant female. Other effects include premature contractions, abnormal lie (breech, transverse), or the uterus measuring larger than what is normally expected given the projected delivery date. Many cases of placenta previa will require C-section delivery.
• Increased incidence of congenital anomalies
• Acute blood loss
• Intrauterine growth retardation due to poor placental perfusion
• Increased risk of placenta accrete
• Caesarean delivery
• Hemorrhage (life threatening)
• Increased risk of postpartum hemorrhage