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When you’ve exerted yourself by exercising or when you’ve been startled or scared, a quickening heart rate is a telltale sign that your body has experienced some acute stress. Generally, as you rest or relax, your heart rate returns to its resting rate. If you’re in good health your heart rate will likely stay in a normal range, but if you’re ill, taking certain medications or have certain cardiovascular conditions, it may take longer for this rate to normalize.

Monitoring the fetal heart rate can give medical practitioners similar information on which to base their care. At key points during a pregnancy – particularly during active labour – an abnormally high (tachycardia) or low (bradycardia) heart rate and/or abnormal variability (especially late decelerations) can signal oxygen deficiency or absence (perinatal asphyxia, anoxia or hypoxia). Commonly called fetal distress, medical providers must assess the situation quickly and carefully to determine if and when they should intervene.

If a medical provider’s negligence or incompetence causes them to delay taking action or to take inappropriate actions (breaching standards of care) and a pregnant woman, her fetus or her newborn suffers harm, it’s called obstetrical malpractice. Preventable birth injuries due to obstetrical malpractice bring about pain, suffering and incredible loss and can change the course of a life in a matter of moments.

Obstetrical Malpractice and Birth Injuries

A preventable birth injury is possible at any stage of pregnancy, during labour and delivery, and in the immediate postpartum period. For example:

  • During pregnancy – A medical provider may improperly administer or neglect to administer standard tests and screenings for conditions such as spina bifida (a condition where vertebrae do not completely enclose the nerves in the spinal column); they may fail to diagnose and treat maternal or in utero infections or improperly manage maternal medications, leading to fetal brain damage; or they may miss problematic signs of placental insufficiency (a compromised placenta that provides inadequate oxygen and nutrients to a fetus).
  • During labour and delivery – Failure to identify high risk pregnancies prior to arranging delivery, using inappropriate force during an extraction (forceps or vacuums) that causes birth trauma (spinal cord injuries, brachial palsies from shoulder dystocias, and other nerve or soft tissue damage and fractures) can all lead to serious harm. Fetal distress may also cause meconium aspiration syndrome (a fetus or baby ingests amniotic fluid mixed with first fecal matter) which can cause damage by obstructing airways or leading to infection.
  • After birth – If a medical provider fails to adequately monitor and treat conditions such as severe jaundice following delivery, it can develop into a serious condition called kernicterus (neurotoxicity).

Help For People Who Have Been Hurt

A preventable birth injury can turn a joyous occasion such as a birth into a time of sadness, anger and grief. As you start to think about the cost of care for your loved one, their pain, suffering and losses, you may worry for their future and wonder how they will be able to enjoy a good quality of life while managing or recovering from a debilitating injury. If a medical provider’s negligence or incompetence has caused or contributed to a loved one’s preventable birth injury, you can make a claim for financial resources to compensate you for these losses and damages.

Howie, Sacks and Henry’s birth injury lawyers are ready to help you file an obstetrical malpractice claim in Burnaby. Our firm has distinguished itself in this complex field and we are consistently recognized as one of the country’s top personal injury firms.

With our reputation for client-centred service, at HSH you will always be treated as more than a file. We understand that during this difficult period in your life you deserve an advocate and supporter who will be compassionate, empathetic, respectful and attentive to your needs.

An HSH birth injury lawyer will gladly arrange to meet you at a convenient location – whether in your own home in the Burnaby area or at a nearby consultation office. We believe distance and your ability to travel should never be an obstacle to accessing high quality legal representation.

As we listen and learn about your birth story, we’ll explain your options, offer our advice on how to proceed, answer your questions and provide information on helpful resources and organizations. HSH will also help to facilitate the tests, evaluations and therapies you and your loved one will need for both your case and your rehabilitation.

As you make your journey down the road to recovery, trust the birth injury lawyers at Howie, Sacks and Henry to be at your side and on your side in Burnaby. No one can change the tragic events of the past, but together we can work to give you access to the financial resources you’ll need to prepare for the future.

Looking to work with a birth injury lawyer in Burnaby? Contact Us.

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Among the best in Canada

Since 2011 Canadian Lawyer Magazine rated us one of the top personal injury law firms in Canada. Why? With close to 20 years helping accident victims and their families, our firm understands the laws that affect your rights to compensation because we’ve helped shape those laws in favour of accident victims.

Among the best in Canada

Since 2011 Canadian Lawyer Magazine rated us one of the top personal injury law firms in Canada. Why? With close to 20 years helping accident victims and their families, our firm understands the laws that affect your rights to compensation because we’ve helped shape those laws in favour of accident victims.