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Study: Mediterranean diet decreases risk of developing gestational diabetes by 35%

According to new research, pregnant women at high risk for developing gestational diabetes who adopt a Mediterranean diet decrease their risk of developing the condition by 35%. Furthermore, women following this diet also gained less weight. The study compared pregnant women following the Mediterranean diet to those who didn’t change their eating habits.

The Mediterranean diet calls for a high intake of nuts, extra virgin olive oil, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fish, and the elimination of sugary drinks, fast food, and food rich in animal fat. These foods have been shown to reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular complications in non-pregnant population, but have not previously been studied in pregnant women on such a large scale.

“This is the largest study in pregnancy to show that Mediterranean diet minimizes the risk of gestational diabetes and weight gain,” said Shakila Thangaratinam, senior author of the study and a researcher at Queen Mary University of London.

Gestational diabetes is a version of diabetes that initially appears during pregnancy when a mother’s body is not able to effectively use insulin to move glucose from the blood into the cells, causing an excess of glucose in the blood. Risks that accompany the condition include cephalopelvic disproportion, very low blood glucose levels in the baby after birth, and fetal macrosomia. Fetal macrosomia, a medical term used to describe a large baby, can lead to further complications such as shoulder dystocia, instrumental delivery by forceps or vacuum, birth by caesarian section, and other issues. Babies that are too large to be born vaginally may experience complications if a trial of labor is attempted, including a loss of fetal oxygenation and subsequent hypoxic-ischemic injury.

If you developed gestational diabetes during your pregnancy and you or your baby were injured during the labor and delivery process, please contact our skilled and caring birth injury lawyers at 877-262-9767.

Study: Muscle Relaxant, Baclofen, Safe for Young Children with CP

According to a recent study in patients with spastic cerebral palsy, the muscle relaxant, baclofen, is equally safe for children under the age of six as it is for older children when administered directly into the spinal cord.

Cerebral palsy is one of the most serious birth injuries that may occur as a result of medical malpractice. It is often caused by a lack of oxygen and blood flow to a baby’s brain during labor and delivery, also known as hypoxia-ischemia. Cerebral palsy can affect both motor coordination and cognition due to brain damage, ranging from mild to severe.

Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common form of the condition, characterized by exaggerated reflexes, increased muscle tone, stiff, jerky movements, muscle tightness and joint stiffness. Medical professionals have used baclofen to reduce abnormal muscle stiffness in older pediatric patients, but until now, the efficacy and safety of intrathecal baclofen therapy in pediatric patients under the age of six had not been studied.

Researchers recorded data of seventeen children that were surgically implanted with a baclofen pump between 11 months and 5.8 years of age. They found that complications were comparable to those of older patients recorded in previously published literature. Thus, researchers concluded that intrathecal baclofen therapy in infants and small children seems safe and effective for use.

What Are Common Symptoms of Spastic Cerebral Palsy?

The most noticeable, early symptoms of spastic cerebral palsy are developmental delays in movement, including difficulties rolling over, sitting up, crawling, standing, and walking.  People with the condition also may have involuntary movements due to damage to the motor cortex of the brain, which can happen before, during, or after birth. Although cerebral palsy is a non-progressive condition, the injury may become more noticeable as a child grows older.

How Do I Know if My Child has Cerebral Palsy Because of a Birth Injury?

A birth injury lawyer can help you determine if you have a birth injury claim, so please call us at 877-262-9767 for a free consultation. You may be entitled to compensation, which may help to cover medical bills to get your child the treatment he or she needs.

Study: One in Twenty Medical Patients are Impacted by a Preventable Medical Mistake 

According to a new study published by the British Medical Journal, researchers from the UK found that more than one out of every 10 patients are harmed by a medical mistake, and that one in 20 patients are impacted by a preventable medical mistake. Researchers analyzed 70 different studies including over 300,000 patients whose records indicated an injury incurred in a healthcare setting that was unrelated to their prior medical conditions. Of the injuries reported, 12% were considered severe—i.e. the patient was permanently disabled or died as a result of treatment.

Each year, approximately 700 women die of pregnancy-related complications in the United States. In fact, a 2018 investigation undertaken by USA Today revealed that more women are dying due to childbirth complications in the United States than any other country in the developed world. This is particularly troubling, considering the leading causes of maternal death are preventable: postpartum hemorrhage (bleeding) and preeclampsia (a condition characterized by high blood pressure during pregnancy).

The investigation suggests that hypertension—dangerously high blood pressure that can lead to preeclampsia—is a leading cause of mothers dying and suffering strokes. As many as 60% of maternal deaths could have been prevented if the mother had been given proper care and treatment for high blood pressure.

Similarly, hemorrhage is a leading cause of mothers dying and suffering life-threatening injuries. Extreme blood loss, whether during delivery or bleeding internally, can be the result of a medical mistake. In fact, as many as 93% of maternal deaths caused by hemorrhaging could have been prevented, according to the investigation.

Preventable medical mistakes can significantly impact infants, as well, sometimes leading to permanent, life-altering injuries or even death. For example, failure to correctly interpret a fetal heart monitoring strip can cause a baby to suffer irreversible brain damage, potentially leading to conditions such as cerebral palsy. Improper use of vacuum or forceps during delivery may cause fetal skull fractures. Excessive manipulation during delivery causing an infant’s brachial plexus nerves to stretch or tear may lead to a brachial plexus injury or Erb’s Palsy. Tragically, an infant’s wrongful death may be caused by preventable medical mistakes, such as failure to diagnose and respond to fetal distress, failure to perform a caesarian section when necessary, failure to provide proper resuscitation after a traumatic birth, or failure to provide head or body cooling, to name a few.

If a loved one died or you or your child suffered an injury as a result of medical negligence during pregnancy, labor or delivery, or the postpartum period, please contact us at 877-262-9767 for a free consultation.

 

 

Data Suggests New Jersey Hospitals Perform Too Many C-Sections

According to data released by the New Jersey Department of Health, the state performs an excess number of surgical births (C-sections), among women considered at low risk for birth complications. New Jersey’s surgical birth rate is almost seven percent higher than the national target rate of 23.9 per 100 live births, with only eight out of 49 New Jersey hospitals meeting the benchmark.

A cesarean section, also known as a C-section, is a surgical procedure used to deliver a baby when the safety of the mother or baby is at risk. Incisions are made through the mother’s abdomen and uterus. In certain situations, these procedures can be lifesaving to both mother and child, but many performed in New Jersey have been deemed to be unnecessary and preventable.

“While these procedures can save lives, too many women in our state are experiencing preventable C-sections, which are putting them at unnecessary risk for injury or death,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal. 

Like any surgery, surgical births pose risks, such as maternal bleeding, infections and blood clots, which can all lead to maternal death. In 2018, an investigation undertaken by USA Today suggested that more women are dying due to childbirth complications in the United States than the rest of the developed world. Hemorrhaging was a leading cause, with as many as 90% of maternal deaths due to extreme blood loss that could have been prevented. 

In light of this eye-opening data, leaders from New Jersey birthing hospitals have committed to achieving cesarean birth rates for low risk women of 23.9 percent or lower by December 31, 2021. Furthermore, this summer, 2019, the New Jersey Department of Health will publish additional data for the New Jersey Report Card of Hospital Maternity Care, which will include surgical birth rates, complication rates, and severe maternal morbidity (SMM) data.

Additionally, New Jersey’s First Lady, Tammy Murphy, has launched a statewide awareness campaign called “Nurture NJ” to reduce infant and maternal mortality and morbidity and ensure equitable care among women and children of all races and ethnicities. 

If you believe your loved one died due to medical negligence during her pregnancy, labor, childbirth or the postpartum period, please contact us at 877-262-9767.

Preeclampsia Drug Reaches Clinical Trial Phase

Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have published a study in the journal Scientific Reports that suggests a drug (alpha-1-microglobulin or A1M) has potential therapeutic effects in patients with preeclampsia. In tests, researchers found that A1M stopped the leakage of protein in the kidneys and improved organ function in the kidneys and the placenta.

Preeclampsia is characterized by the development of high blood pressure and high protein levels in urine at or after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It is a serious complication that can result in maternal and fetal injury or death. An investigation undertaken by USA Today suggests that high blood pressure is a leading cause of mothers dying and suffering strokes—and as many as 60% of maternal deaths due to hypertension could have been prevented.   

Patient trials were launched after researchers saw no indication of side effects, and the results confirmed previous studies by the research team. 

“This feels like a milestone in our research,” senior researcher Lena Erlandsson said of the clinical trials. 

A date has not yet been set for a potential drug to come to market, as the research and development of pharmaceuticals takes many years. However, the results of this study are promising and suggest there may be a treatment for the condition that annually affects around 9 million pregnant women worldwide. 

Pregnant women with preeclampsia are at risk for seizures and the development of eclampsia (coma), stroke, severe bleeding, heart attack, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and placental abruption. If severe preeclampsia develops, the mother will require hospitalization.  However, mild preeclampsia may be managed with at-home care and close physician monitoring.  

Symptoms of preeclampsia may include headaches, blurred vision, upper abdominal pain, decreased urine output, low blood platelet level, and sudden weight gain, and should be discussed with a physician.

If you experienced preeclampsia during your pregnancy, and you or your child suffered injury as a result, please contact us at 877-262-9767.

 

New Research Could Help Prevent Neonatal Seizures

Researchers at Penn State University have identified a link between a small organic compound found in fruit and honey called gluconate, and neonatal seizures. The research team used gluconate to target CLC-3 chloride channels in the brain. These small openings (channels) facilitate a large ion current in an infant’s brain, but are not as active in an adult brain. Since gluconate is too large to pass through the channels in an infant’s brain, it acts as a channel blocker, which may inhibit seizure activity. The researchers also found that a ketogenic diet (low-carbohydrate, high-fat) may help the body produce a substance that can act as a channel inhibitor, similar to gluconate, to suppress neonatal seizure activity.

Currently, there is no drug specifically developed to target neonatal seizures, and unfortunately, researchers indicate, long-term use of some anti-epilepsy drugs may have side effects on brain development in newborns. Researchers are optimistic that this finding could lead to the development of a viable treatment option for neonatal epilepsy.

Neonatal seizures are a common indication of a birth injury, resulting from events such as fetal distress, maternal bleedingplacental abruption, or cord prolapse. The most common cause of neonatal seizures is hypoxic–ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), which may lead to poor neurological outcome. HIE causes oxygen deprivation to the brain, which may occur before, during, or after delivery. This condition is also a leading cause of cerebral palsy.

There are five main types of neonatal seizures: subtle seizures, tonic seizures, clonic seizures, myoclonic seizures and non-paroxysmal repetitive behaviors. Symptoms of seizures may include repetitive shuddering or shaking, jerking movements, and excessive eye blinking. These events often signify serious damage to the brain and demand urgent medical attention.

If you believe your child suffers from neonatal seizures as a result of medical malpractice, please contact us at 877-262-9767.

New Clinical Trial to Screen for Group B Strep

The UK’s National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is set to begin a clinical trial to screen pregnant women for Group B Streptococcus (also called Group B strep or GBS). The trial will test the effectiveness of two types of GBS screening compared to no screening in 80 hospitals throughout England and Wales where there is currently no standard screening program in place. The NIHR-funded trial will be led by doctors from the University of Nottingham School of Medicine.

Group B streptococcus is a common type of bacteria, which live naturally in the intestines and the urinary and genital tracts of adults. Though typically harmless to adults, GBS can cause severe injuries to newborns if it is transferred from their mother during labor and delivery. According to the CDC, “A pregnant woman who tests positive for GBS bacteria and gets antibiotics during labor has only a 1 in 4,000 chance of delivering a baby who will develop GBS disease. If she does not receive antibiotics during labor, her chance of delivering a baby who will develop GBS disease is 1 in 200.” Newborn symptoms of GBS may include drowsiness, coughing, congestion, difficulty feeding, fever, irritability, or seizures. GBS can be life-threatening; 4-6% of babies who have GBS die from the infection. GBS can also lead to serious conditions, such as pneumonia, sepsis, or meningitis. Therefore, screening and diagnosis is critical.

If a mother tests positive for GBS (in the United States, GBS testing is typically administered between 35 and 37 weeks gestation), IV antibiotics should be administered during labor. Risk of passing the GBS infection to the infant is higher if the mother has chorioamnionitis or gives birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy.

Currently, UK obstetricians use a set of criteria to assess a woman’s probability of carrying the bacteria. A previous study showed this process to be inaccurate. The UK is one of the only countries in the developed world where there is currently no standard screening program for GBS, but this landmark trial may change that.

If you believe your baby suffered a GBS infection during labor or delivery, please contact our expert birth injury lawyers for help. Call us at 877-262-9767 to discuss your situation.

States with the Highest Maternal Mortality Rates

Each year, approximately 700 women die of pregnancy-related complications in the United States. Death may be caused by postpartum hemorrhage, preeclampsia, pulmonary embolism, cardiac arrest, infection, amniotic fluid embolism, or other complications. According to data recently released by U.S. News and World Report, certain states in the nation have much higher maternal death rates than other states.

In 2018, a USA Today investigation suggested that more women are dying due to childbirth complications in the United States than any other country in the developed world. Maternal mortality rates in some states are so high, they match those of developing countries. For example, between 2011 and 2015, Georgia, Louisiana and Indiana all had average rates above 40 deaths per 100,000 live births—well above the 2014 overall U.S. average of 18 deaths per 100,000 live births. These statistics put these three U.S. states on par with the maternal death rates in Malaysia, Turkmenistan and Cabo Verde.

There are also alarming rates of maternal deaths amongst women of color. In Louisiana, maternal death occurs two and a half times more frequently amongst black women than white women. In Georgia, for every100,000 live births, 66.6 black women die due to childbirth complications, compared to 43.2 white women. Age can also play a role in maternal death: Georgia mothers in the age bracket of 35-44 had the highest maternal death rate, with nearly 90 deaths per 100,000 live births.

According to the report, California, Massachusetts and Nevada have the three lowest rates of maternal death in the nation, at 4.5, 6.1 and 6.2 deaths per 100,000 live births, respectively.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a pregnancy-related death as “the death of a woman while pregnant or within 1 year of the end of a pregnancy–regardless of the outcome, duration or site of the pregnancy–from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management…” The CDC calculates pregnancy-related mortality ratios to estimate the number of pregnancy-related deaths for every 100,000 live births. Since the CDC started surveilling this data in the late 1980s, the number of pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. has more than doubled, from 7.2 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1987 to 17.2 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2015. While the reason for this troubling increase is not entirely clear, hemorrhaging and high blood pressure—two largely preventable causes of maternal death—have been cited as leading causes of maternal death.

If you believe your loved one died due to medical negligence during her pregnancy, labor, childbirth or the postpartum period, please contact us at 877-262-9767.

CDC Report: 60% of pregnancy-related deaths in U.S. are Preventable

According to a new CDC analysis, three in five pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. could be prevented. About a third of pregnancy-related deaths occur up to a year after a woman gives birth, 31% occur during pregnancy, and 36% of deaths happen during delivery or in the week after birth.

The CDC’s report compiled national data between 2011 and 2015, as well as data from state maternal mortality review committees. Statistics showed the leading causes of death were infections, severe bleeding, heart disease, and stroke. However, a mother’s wrongful death may also occur from complications such as surgical malpractice during a C-section, HELLP syndrome, preeclampsia, pulmonary embolism and amniotic fluid embolism.

Maternal mortality can affect women of every race, ethnicity, education, and income level. However, according to the analysis, women in the United States who identified as black, American Indian or Alaska native were at a three time’s greater risk of maternal death than white women.

Regardless of race or ethnicity, most deaths were preventable—largely due to access to care, missed or delayed diagnoses, and failure to recognize warning signs. Robert R. Redfield, Director of the CDC, said that ensuring quality care for mothers throughout pregnancy and postpartum “should be among our Nation’s highest priorities.” Improved access to prenatal and post-partum care and educating women about warning signs is critical, the CDC notes.

Since the CDC began monitoring pregnancy mortality, the number of reported pregnancy-related deaths in the United States has increased from 7.2 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1987, to 18 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2014. This ranks the United States as having the worst rate of maternal deaths in the developed world.

Just as healthcare providers must work to prevent maternal mortality, the CDC urges women to learn about the warning signs of complications, and mention any recent pregnancies each time they receive medical care in the year after delivery.

Of the 700 pregnancy-related deaths that occur in the U.S. each year, over 400 could have been prevented. The CDC defines pregnancy-related deaths as “the death of a woman while pregnant or within 1 year of the end of a pregnancy–regardless of the outcome, duration or site of the pregnancy–from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management…” If you believe your loved one died due to medical negligence during her pregnancy, labor, childbirth or the postpartum period, please contact us at 877-262-9767.

Exploring Spastic, Ataxic, and Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy

What is Spastic Cerebral Palsy?

Spastic cerebral palsy is a type of cerebral palsy characterized by jerky movements, muscle tightness and joint stiffness. Often caused by brain damage before, during, or shortly after birth, spastic cerebral palsy affects the normal development of motor function, as the damaged part of the brain sends the wrong neurological messages. Spastic cerebral palsy is the most common form of the condition, affecting as many as 80% of children with cerebral palsy.

There are three types of spastic cerebral palsy: spastic quadriplegia, spastic diplegia, and spastic hemiplegia. Spastic quadriplegia causes difficulty controlling movements in the arms, legs, torso, and face. Spastic diplegia is characterized by a tightness or stiffness, mostly in the lower extremities, while spastic hemiplegia usually affects one side of the body

The most noticeable spastic cerebral palsy symptoms are developmental delays in movement, including difficulties rolling over, sitting up, crawling, standing, and walking. People with the condition also may have stiff muscles (hypertonia) and exaggerated movements. Other symptoms of cerebral palsy may include abnormal gait and/or involuntary movements.

Spasticity is due to damage to the motor cortex of the brain, which can happen before, during, or after birth. Often, this is a result of medical negligence. Cerebral palsy is one of the most serious birth injuries that may occur as a result of medical malpractice.

Fortunately, spastic cerebral palsy is not a progressive condition, meaning the condition will not get worse over time. However, symptoms and pain may change with severity, so prompt cerebral palsy diagnosis is important.

What Is Ataxic Cerebral Palsy?

Ataxic cerebral palsy affects between 5-10% of people with cerebral palsy. Individuals with ataxia struggle with their sense of balance and depth perception, causing unsteady, shaky movements and difficulties maintaining balance. Ataxic cerebral palsy symptoms also include speech and oral problems, such as “scanning speech” and difficulty swallowing.

The condition is caused by damage to the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls motor function. Damage to the cerebellum may be caused by infections in the womb, loss of oxygen at birth, head trauma during or after birth, or fetal stroke.

What is Dyskinetic Cerebral Palsy?

Dyskinetic cerebral palsy (also called athetoid cerebral palsy) is characterized by slow writhing movements (athetosis), twisting movements (dystonia), or irregular/unpredictable movements (chorea). These movement are particularly noticeable when a person with the condition attempts to move. Dyskinetic cerebral palsy affects only about 6% of people with the condition. When present in only one part of the body, the condition is called focal dystonia. When symptoms are affect the whole body, it is known as generalized dystonia.

This form of cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the basal ganglia, the brain’s “switchboard” for regulating messages relaying voluntary movements. The basal ganglia also regulates emotion, mood and behavior.

Dyskinetic cerebral palsy causes include neonatal strokes, untreated jaundice and hyperbilirubinemia, maternal medical complications, and injury during delivery.

Is There a Cure of Cerebral Palsy?

Presently, no cure exists for cerebral palsy; however many types of treatments are available for people with the condition. Medication and physical, speech, or occupational therapies are the most common treatments. Early intervention is important to help with developmental and social skills, which may improve quality of life.

Are There Any Assistive Devices for Cerebral Palsy?

Equipment for children with cerebral palsy can help to improve mobility, independence, and quality of life. Mobility devices for cerebral palsy include orthotic devices, crutches and canes, walkers, and wheelchairs. For individuals who struggle with communication, speech generating devices help to connect them with family, friends, and their environment. High tech communication devices also allow individuals to translate skills they have, such as eye gaze, into language. These devices can be used to help children with cerebral palsy in school, in social situations, and in everyday life.

How Do I Know if My Child has Cerebral Palsy Because of a Birth Injury?

A birth injury lawyer can help you determine if you have a birth injury claim, so please call us at 877-262-9767 for a free consultation. You may be entitled to compensation, which may help to cover medical bills to get your child the treatment he or she needs.

The following reviews from our clients do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of another legal matter. The cases mentioned in the reviews are illustrative of some of the matters previously handled by Grant & Eisenhofer involving various areas of birth injury law. These reviews are endorsements.

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The following reviews from our clients do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of another legal matter. The cases mentioned in the reviews are illustrative of some of the matters previously handled by Grant & Eisenhofer involving various areas of birth injury law. These reviews are endorsements.

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