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Pittsburgh Personal Injury Law Blog

Understanding Erb's palsy

When expectant parents in Pennsylvania are preparing for the birth of a new child, understanding some of the potential problems that may occur duing labor and deliver is important even though this is not the most positive thing to focus on. The reality is that the more educated moms and dads are about these things, the more they can help advocate for the right care or action if that should become necessary.

According to the Mayo Clinic, if a baby is in the breech position or becomes lodged in the birth canal for too long, they run the risk of experiencing damage to some nerves that control shoulder, arm and hand movements. Sometimes the upper and lower sets of nerves may be affected and other times only the upper nerves are impacted.

Body cooling therapy: a new solution to birth injuries

There are a multitude of steps that can go wrong in the birthing process: failure to diagnose birth defects, performing inaccurate cesarean sections and the misuse of medical tools are only a few of the many types of childbirth mistakes. The mistake may seem apparent, but where does one draw the line in the case of a birth injury? Pennsylvania patients have the lawful right to address medical malpractice of any kind, including birth injuries. In the case of oxygen deprivation, a new medical approach could bring a decline in the country's birth-related brain injuries overall.  

Markets Insider released an article covering a relatively new approach to handling birth injuries, but added that many surgeons in the country are still hesitant toward the procedure. According to the article, the newborn of a Florida family suffered significant brain damage when surgeons failed to react to her condition in a timely and effective manner. Attorneys in Philadelphia came to the family's assistance by securing a $5.3 million settlement in favor of their client. The pressing medical situation could have been considerably altered, had surgeons immediately transferred the baby to a unit where she could have received body cooling therapy, a procedure through which brain injuries can be reduced and even prevented. While still a new procedure, body cooling therapy must take place within a few hours of birth. In this instance, doctors waited overnight before taking the medical action that could have saved the baby from brain injuries.

Common injuries from motorcycle accidents

Motorcycles are just as much about expressing yourself as they are about getting you from one place to another. Still, you cannot ignore the fact that they come with more risk than do enclosed motor vehicles. According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2015 bikers were six times more likely to die in a crash than were occupants of passenger cars, with the odds increasing nearly fivefold after factoring in driving distance. Rates of injury were also higher.

The nature of motorcycles makes it clear why they are more dangerous to ride. Collisions often lead to these serious injuries.

Living with a TBI

When it comes to of brain injuries in Pennsylvania, contact sports and car accidents may be the first topics to come to mind. Yet there are a plethora of other causes and concerns regarding brain injuries, as well as potentially lasting effects. Emotional issues are an aspect of brain injuries that is minimally discussed but makes a monumental impact on a person's overall wellbeing.

Although many may assume emotional effects are an obvious repercussion of brain injuries, obstacles that ensue can be incredibly complex. Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center, an organization that provides informational resources on traumatic brain injuries, notes that emotional disorders post-injury can vary depending on the individual. Some, according to MSKTC, experience emotional "roller coasters," while others experience intense emotions that last only briefly. Such emotional unpredictability is often the result of damage to the area of the brain that controls emotions and behavior. Although some injuries are irreversible, MSKTC points out that emotional outbursts usually improve within a few months of the injury, where individuals can eventually find emotional balance.

The potential risks of forceps-assisted birth

The birthing process can be challenging enough on its own, yet when birth injuries enter the picture, situations can quickly go from inconvenient to life-threatening. Pennsylvania's birth injury litigations usually come with a number of obstacles, as each injury is unique. It is important for parents and expecting parents to know information on the common types of birth injuries, as well as the various medical malpractice resources to consider.

Most medical malpractice incidents are unique from patient to patient, but an article in Public Opinion highlights that birth injuries often take a common route: that of the incorrect use of surgical tools. In what experts consider to be the largest ever court-ordered award due to medical malpractice in the Pennsylvania's Middle District, a Chambersburg couple recently received $42 miilion for drastic damage a doctor inflicted on their son. The doctor allegedly used forceps, a tool used in assisted vaginal delivery, to help deliver the child. However, professionals consider the dangers of extended use of forceps, and the doctor used this manuever extensively during delivery. The infant received an alarming amount of brain damage shortly after birth, and doctors say the child will never be able to carry out daily life functions on his own.

Cerebral palsy and the possible causes

When it comes to welcoming new life into the world, there is hardly room for a negative moment. Yet when injuries occur upon birth, those moments can become crucial. Cerebral palsy is a set of permanent movement disorders found primarly in young children and infants, and has many possible causes. While a large number of cases are a result of pregnancy-related issues, others are a result of delivery errors. If an individual in Pennsylvania suspects that medical malpractice may be the blame for an infant's case of cerebral palsy, they may choose to take legal recourse.

Consumer Safety, an online community dedicated to supplying the public with information about safety-related news, recalls and medical devices, clarifies the causes and risk factors of cerebral palsy. According to CS, cerebral palsy is a non-progressive brain injury or malformation that occurs while the brain is developing. One cause of the development is brain damage at certain stages of delivery, where an accident or an infection can inhibit blood flow to the brain. If oxygen is cut off for any prolonged period during labor, a child can develop cerebral palsy. Although this cause is rare, it is almost always entirely preventable.

Brain injuries: lifestyles and recovery

The average individual in Pennsylvania experiences an illness at some point in their lifetime, such as food poisoning, ear infections and the flu. However, when someone suffers a brain injury, they go through an entirely different type of recovery process.

Traumatic brain injuries (also known as TBIs) are the most common cause of death and disability among young Americans, and thousands require extended hospital treatment for brain injuries each year. Unfortunately, these catastrophic incidents are all different, as the types of disabilties and lifestyle changes can vary depending on the type of injury.

Differences between delayed diagnoses and misdiagnoses

Pennsylvania residents like you rely on medical professionals to get the help you need in a timely fashion. Unfortunately, mistakes can still happen even among trained medical professionals. At Phillips, Phillips & Smith-Delach, P.C., we work to explain medical misdiagnoses, delayed diagnoses, and illustrate the difference between the two.

A medical misdiagnosis occurs when you've been given an incorrect diagnosis in regard to the symptoms you're showing. The potential repercussions to this can be catastrophic, as you could be given medications or even surgical treatment to correct a problem that you don't actually have. This can eventually cause problems in and of itself. Additionally, the real root of your symptoms remains untreated and undiscovered, which can lead to it worsening over time.

Comprehending cognition

Traumatic brain injuries have become a hot button topic both in Pittsburgh and throughout the country in recent years. Yet a good deal of misunderstanding may still exist about TBIs. Most may think that only those injuries which result in severe brain damage can cause lifelong effects. However, mild TBIs (concussions) can also leave one struggling with cognitive issues. What is most frightening about this fact is that concussions are quite prevalent in the U.S. In fact, research information shared by Truven Health estimates that as many as a quarter of the American population has sustained at least one.

To fully comprehend exactly what sort of cognitive issues concussions may cause, one must first understand what cognition is. Simply put, it is the process of thinking. While this may seem simple at face value, a closer reveals how much the way one thinks effects his or her daily life. Thinking includes:

  •          Concentrating long enough to process information
  •          Understanding, reasoning and problem solving
  •          Retaining information both in the short- and long-term
  •          Communicating clearly
  •          Controlling impulses

Risks related to use of forceps during deliveries

As many Pittsburgh mothers are well aware, childbirth does not always go as expected. In this case doctors may opt to use tools like forceps, which can actually result in a number of very serious medical complications. Knowing about these risks is of the utmost importance to ensure the health of your baby remains top-priority during a delivery.

According to WebMD, doctors often use tools to assist during difficult deliveries. These typically include forceps, or in some cases medical staff may use a device known as a vacuum extractor. While these are thought to be safe, they can sometimes cause significant injury to unborn babies, with occasionally tragic consequences.

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