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The placenta is quite literally a lifeline between a pregnant woman and her developing fetus. It acts as lungs by bring oxygen to the fetus, transmits nutrients, filters out waste, and even passes along maternal antibodies to help a newborn’s immune function in the critical months following a birth.
When this lifeline is damaged or compromised there can be very serious danger to both the woman and her fetus. If the placenta detaches from the inner wall of the uterus (placental abruption) it can increase the risk of premature birth, cognitive disorders and neurological damage, Cerebral Palsy, or stillbirth if left untreated. Placental insufficiency (damage to the placenta or failure to develop sufficiently to support the needs of the fetus) can create similar problems.
Placental insufficiency is sometimes the result of a condition called placenta previa. If the placenta moves to the lower portion or the womb and partially or fully covers the cervix, it can often cause excessive vaginal bleeding. If these condition occurs early in the pregnancy, it can increase the risk of complications and lead to stillbirth, asphyxia (oxygen deprivation) and seizures.
Medical providers offering obstetrical care understand how critical it is to diagnosis and treat these conditions as quickly as possible to reduce the risk of long-term damage. However, if a medical provider’s negligent actions, inaction or incompetence results in misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, significant birth injuries are possible.
Common Types of Birth Injuries
Obstetrical malpractice occurs when a medical provider has breached standards of care due to negligence and cause serious harm to a pregnant woman, her fetus or her newborn. A breach in care at any stage of pregnancy, during labour and delivery, or in the period immediately following birth may cause or contribute to a birth injury.
Common birth injuries resulting from obstetrical malpractice include:
- Brain damage – Undiagnosed maternal or in utero infection, poor management of maternal medications, or misdiagnosed or delayed diagnosis of fetal distress (usually caused by oxygen deprivation) can cause serious neurological damage. Fetal tachycardia (an abnormally fast heart rate) is often an indication of fetal distress from conditions such as placental insufficiency.
- Spinal cord injuries, nerve damage, broken bones – During a traumatic birth or forced extraction using a vacuum or forceps, a baby may sustain significant injuries if a medical provider unnecessarily prolongs labour or uses improper force to assist with delivery. Certain conditions such as shoulder dystocia (a baby’s head is delivered but its shoulders remain lodged behind the woman’s pelvic bone) can lead to brachial plexus injuries (stretching or tearing of the nerve network between a neck and shoulders). Fractures or soft tissue damage causing disfiguring scars may also occur during a traumatic birth. A medical provider’s failure to test for conditions such as spina bifida (vertebrae do not enclose around the spine to protect nerves) or failure to properly interpret results can also create conditions where serious injury occurs during or following birth.
- Kernicterus – Although jaundice is common among newborns and usually resolves on its own or with minimal intervention, severe jaundice that is left untreated can lead to a condition called kernicterus which causes neurotoxicity and brain injuries.
Help For Those Who Have Been Hurt
The addition of a new member to your family should be a time a great joy. A birth injury can turn that joy into sorrow, pain and grief. Learning that another person’s negligence or incompetence caused a debilitating injury to someone you love is devastating and contemplating the long-term financial cost of care or recovery can be overwhelming.
Howie, Sacks and Henry’s birth injury lawyers are available to help you in Cornwall if you or a loved one have been a victim of obstetrical malpractice. Our team of knowledgeable, skilled and experienced lawyers is recognized as one of Canada’s top personal injury firms. We have developed expertise in this complex and challenging area of law and are able to take on cases involving even the most complicated conditions.
An HSH birth injury lawyer will be pleased to visit you in your own home in the Cornwall area or at a nearby consultation office to ensure that distance and your ability to travel will not be obstacles that prevent you from accessing high quality legal representation. We will listen to your story with empathy and advise you of your options while answering any questions you may have.
With a reputation for client-centred care and service, you can be confident that at HSH we will always see you as more than just a file. In this difficult time in your life, you will find you have a compassionate, caring and respectful advocate in an HSH birth injury lawyer.
If you or a loved one believe you have suffered a serious birth injury at the hands of a negligent or incompetent medical provider, trust our team to assist you in making a claim for compensation and damages for your pain, suffering and losses. With an HSH birth injury lawyer on your side and by your side in Cornwall, you’ll have hope there are better days ahead.
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We serve the Cornwall and surrounding areas. When you think Birth Injuries Lawyer Cornwall, Think Howie, Sacks & Henry.