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Annapolis Birth Injury Blog

Understanding your rights pertaining to wrongful death

The death of a loved one is one of the most heartrending experiences you could have in life. In the medical profession, one simple mistake can have devastating results. At the law office of Michael H. Bereston, Inc., we have been there for clients in the aftermath of a tragedy that could have been avoided. We feel it is important for Maryland residents to understand their rights in a wrongful death situation.

First, you must realize the definition of wrongful death. According to the Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute, wrongful death is a fatality that occurs after someone’s negligence, criminal behavior or professional misconduct resulted in the death of someone else. For example, wrongful death cases often result after a car accident in which the responsible party had been driving recklessly or was intoxicated. Wrongful death in the prenatal and obstetrics field might result from the following situations:

  • The obstetrician failed to diagnose a serious condition, such as preeclampsia, that ended up being fatal to the mother.
  • A pregnancy complication, such as a detached placenta, was not caught in time, resulting in the death of the unborn baby.
  • A doctor or nurse made a mistake during labor or delivery, which resulted in a fatal injury.

What is umbilical cord compression and how can it hurt your baby?

When talking to your doctor about pregnancy complications, you may have discussed the topic of umbilical cord problems. There are numerous ways the umbilical cord might be compromised during pregnancy or delivery. Most of these issues are minor, fortunately, and can be addressed through prenatal care or emergency procedures. You and other expectant parents in Maryland should not worry too much about umbilical cord problems, but it can help to know what you might encounter.

The umbilical cord is one of the most important structures during pregnancy, which carries nutrients and oxygen from you to your unborn baby. When the cord is compromised, your baby might become malnourished or suffer from the effects of oxygen deprivation. Serious umbilical cord problems can result in brain damage or the death of the baby. Umbilical compression is a common problem that is caused when the baby’s weight, the placenta or the vaginal walls put pressure on the cord during pregnancy, labor or delivery. In fact, states the American Pregnancy Association, compression occurs in about one out of every 10 deliveries.

What causes shoulder dystocia?

Imagine you just went through 12 hours of labor. Joyful that the birth is over, you look into the doctor's eyes to find a look of concern. He says, "The trauma of birth has left your baby with a paralyzed arm."

The technical term for your baby's condition is "shoulder dystocia," this birth injury happens when the baby gets stuck in the birth canal. Sometimes, the head makes it through, but the shoulders become trapped by the bones of the mother's pelvis and the doctor needs to force the baby's birth.

How necessary are episiotomies?

When preparing for the birth of your baby, you have probably been educated in numerous childbirth scenarios. You may be planning for a routine delivery, but you understand that complications can arise. The position of your baby or the condition of the placenta or umbilical cord could necessitate an emergency cesarean section, or you might need Pitocin to keep your labor going. Like many other expectant mothers in Maryland, your doctor may have talked to you about getting an episiotomy during delivery.

What exactly is an episiotomy? According to the Mayo Clinic, this is an incision made in the perineal area to widen the vaginal canal during birth and prevent tearing. In previous years, most doctors believed episiotomies were necessary, and they were routinely performed. However, recent research has shown that this procedure does not provide any benefits in most cases. In fact, an episiotomy may make you more likely to tear further while pushing the baby out, as well as complicating your recovery and creating long-term health problems.

Understanding placental abruptions

Maryland residents who are expecting the birth of a child obviously want and deserve to focus on the joys and hopes they have for their new loved one. At the same time, it is important for parents to be aware of the potential health risks associated with pregnancy and what they should be able to expect from their physicians and other medical professionals during these very important nine months.

Among the many complications or problems that can arise during a pregnancy, one is a placental abruption. The March of Dimes explains that this happens what the placenta separates either in part or totally from the uterus. The placenta is vital in delivering nutrients and oxygen to a baby and if it becomes detached from the uterus, the baby is at risk for not getting enough nutrition, oxygen or both.

Exercising safely while pregnant may reduce the risk of injury

Like other expectant mothers in Maryland, you want your pregnancy and delivery to go smoothly, without any complications. Getting adequate prenatal care is a big part of taking care of your and your baby’s health. You might also want to exercise while pregnant. At the law office of Michael H. Bereston, Inc., we understand how important it is for anyone to get exercise, but we also know that pregnancy is a special circumstance when you will need to know your limitations, to prevent injuring yourself or the unborn baby.

The American Pregnancy Association assures that exercising should be safe and healthy during most pregnancies. Regular exercise should keep you in shape, strengthen you for delivery and help you get back to your normal weight after the baby is born. However, experts caution expectant mothers not to work out with the intent of losing weight during pregnancy, and not to exercise to the point where they are physically exhausted.

Gestational diabetes can cause complications for baby and mother

As outlined in previous posts in this blog, there are different health issues during pregnancy that can pose risks for the mother or the unborn baby. Most pregnancies and deliveries in Maryland and elsewhere progress smoothly with few complications, but there are those in which patients suffer lasting harm and heartbreak. In cases where a gestational illness is not noticed or is misdiagnosed by an obstetrician, the results can be devastating.

Gestational diabetes is a risk factor of pregnancy that is common enough for doctors to prescribe a special test with each pregnant woman to rule out the disease. In fact, the American Diabetes Association claims that as many as 9.2 percent of pregnant women develop the illness at least once during their pregnancies. Those who develop gestational diabetes are at a higher risk of later developing type 2 diabetes.

Did a medical mistake cause your baby's torticollis?

For most new parents, the biggest source of anxiety is the potential for a sick or injured baby. Losing a baby, or having a child with an acquired disability, can be devastating for families. You may have felt relief when your child was born, seemingly healthy and normal. After several weeks, however, it has become obvious that there is something wrong.

Now that your baby is starting to move more, you may notice that he or she has some unusual traits. Maybe your child's head always seems to tilt to one side, or maybe the baby's head isn't moving freely, causing frustration in your infant. Sometimes, there's a telltale bump in the neck, over the muscle.

Are you at risk for a uterine rupture?

Expecting mothers in Maryland have a lot to prepare for. If you're pregnant or plan to become pregnant, you'll want to know as much about your medical history as possible. In doing so, you will know your risks for certain pregnancy complications or birth disorders. This can help you take precautionary measures to avoid catastrophic situations.

One such potential situation is described by MedScape as a uterine rupture, which can be potentially fatal to both you and your child. In a case of uterine rupture, the uterine wall is disrupted fully, or split all the way through. Not only can this result in intense uterine bleeding, but it will also cause the expulsion or protrusion of the fetus into the abdominal cavity. This results in an immediate need for a cesarean section, and a hysterectomy or uterine repair.

Initiative targets improved prenatal complication response

If you are an expectant parent in Maryland, you know the myriad of concerns that you face when it comes to protecting the health of your unborn child. Whether you are the pregnant mother or the partner of a pregnant woman, you want to know that your baby's live and the mother's life are in the best hands. Understanding how your care team approaches working together as well as working with you may play a big part in this.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of serious pregnancy complications rose by two times in the 11 years from 1998 to 2009. In 2008, a group of hospitals from multiple states banded together to create and implement an initiative that directly targets team communication for prenatal care and complications. Becker's Hospital Review reports that these hospitals report a 15-percent drop in adverse cardiac events and 5.4-percent drop in severe bleeding events due to this effort.

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Michael H. Bereston, Inc.
138 Main Street, Suite 200
P.O. Box 2990
Annapolis, MD 21401

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