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Whether it’s at an obstetrician’s office with a doctor or in your own home with a midwife, when you learn you’re pregnant you know there are many check-ups in your future. At critical stages of the pregnancy, medical providers will monitor maternal health and fetal development and administer tests to determine if there are any abnormalities.
During the second trimester, a medical practitioner should conduct a series of tests to screen for neural tube defects (such as spina bifida) and other chromosomal abnormalities. A combination of tests known as a triple-screen or quadruple screen will check for levels of alpha-fetoprotein, human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), Estriol, and Inhibin A.
Although abnormal tests results alone do not conclusively mean a fetus has an abnormality, in combination with ultrasounds and/or amniocentesis, they can be used to determine if a fetus is likely to have major birth defects.
If a medical practitioner fails to conduct these tests, if the tests are faulty, if there is a misreading of results or misdiagnosis, or if there are other issues that prevent a woman from learning about the viability of her pregnancy and heightened risks of giving birth to a child with severe defects or life-limiting injuries, it can rob her of the ability to make critical decisions.
When a medical provider breaches standards of care due to negligence or incompetence and causes serious harm to a pregnant woman, her fetus or her newborn, it’s called obstetrical malpractice – and it can change the course of a life forever.
Common Types of Birth Injuries
A preventable birth injury can occur at any time during a pregnancy, during labour and delivery, or in the six-week period of postpartum care:
- During Pregnancy – Untreated maternal or in utero infections, poor management of maternal health conditions or medications, failure to properly administer tests and analyze results and other negligent actions or inaction can all cause or contribute to birth injuries such as brain damage and Cerebral Palsy. Failure to identify or treat conditions such as fetal tachycardia (abnormally high heart rate) and placental insufficiency (a damaged or compromised placenta that prevent delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the fetus and removal of waste) can be especially damaging if they lead to oxygen deprivation (perinatal asphyxia, hypoxia or anoxia).
- During Labour and Delivery – Poor judgment about whether a pregnancy is high-risk or low-risk and failure to monitor warning signs and act accordingly can cause birth trauma injuries. These include brachial plexus injuries from shoulder dystocia (a baby’s shoulders are wedged behind a woman’s pelvic bone), spinal cord injuries, nerve damage or fractures from incompetent technique while performing a forced extraction (vacuum or forceps), or failure to address signs of fetal distress that may indicate oxygen deprivation can all lead to serious birth injuries at the time of delivery.
- Following Birth – Conditions such as meconium aspiration (first fecal matter mixes with amniotic fluid and is ingested in the baby’s lungs) or kernicterus (undiagnosed and untreated severe jaundice that causes neurotoxicity) both require attentive care in the postpartum period.
When You’ve Been Hurt, We Can Help
No one can prepare themselves for the kind of grief, anger and pain that comes with learning a loved one has suffered a serious birth injury. Discovering that such an injury was preventable and that a medical provider’s negligence or incompetence caused or contributed to this tragedy can be especially devastating.
If you or a loved one has experienced pain, suffering and loss from obstetrical malpractice, you should know you are not alone. Howie, Sacks and Henry’s experienced birth injury lawyers have the expertise you’ll need to make a claim for compensation and damages in Brockville. Recognized by our peers as one of Canada’s top personal injury firms, our team can help you navigate this complex and challenging area of law.
HSH birth injury lawyers can arrange to meet with you in your own home in the Brockville area or at a nearby consultation office to ensure distance and your ability to travel don’t prevent you from being able to access high quality legal representation. And our reputation for compassionate, caring, and respectful service to our clients means that you can be confident that you will always be more than a file in our eyes.
As we listen to your birth story with great empathy, we will explain your options and offer our advice on how to proceed. At HSH, we understand how overwhelming the legal process can feel, so we do all that we can to make you feel comfortable by facilitating the testing, evaluations and rehabilitative therapies you or your loved one needs to assist in your recovery and strengthen your case.
No one can change the past, but with an HSH birth injury lawyer on your side and by your side in Brockville, we can attempt to get you the financial resources you need to make the future more secure for you and your loved one. As your trusted advocate, we will work with you to give you hope there are better days ahead.
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We serve the Brockville and surrounding areas. When you think Birth Injuries Lawyer Brockville, Think Howie, Sacks & Henry.