Servicing Calgary and all of Alberta
When it comes to delivering babies, timing is everything. From estimating due dates, to evaluating fetal development at key stages of the pregnancy, to observing time between contractions, to monitoring maternal and fetal heart rates, medical professionals know that they must keep their eyes on the calendar and the clock to help ensure a positive birth story.
Sadly, when every minute and every second counts, time lost to inaction or delays in recognizing warning signs for birth trauma can mean the difference between a healthy new mother and baby and life-long disability or even death.
A birth is a moment in time that should be one of pure joy for a mother, her family, and friends. When medical negligence breaches standards of care and causes a serious injury to a baby or mother, the expected joy turns to heartache, distress, and agony. If you or a loved has experienced a birth injury in the Calgary area, Howie, Sacks and Henry’s experienced, knowledgeable and compassionate birth injury lawyers are ready to help.
Statistics suggest Alberta women are two and a half times as likely to suffer physical trauma from childbirth than the OCED average. About 14.5 percent of women in the province (16.9% nationally) suffer trauma during instrument-assisted births, and some women will suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder from these deliveries or experience long-term complications such as problems with bowel control.
Fortunately, catastrophic deliveries are fairly rare in Canada, with about six maternal deaths per 100,000 deliveries and about five infant deaths per 1,000 live births. However, as Canadian Medical Protective Association associate executive director Dr. Douglas Bell explains, “when the outcomes are bad, they’re awful” – particularly for infants who sustain significant disabilities that will greatly alter the quality of a life that has only just begun.
While some problems during birth are unavoidable, errors made by medical professionals during the birthing process can contribute to serious and preventable birth injuries.
Types of Birth Injuries
A study of Canadian birth injuries by a malpractice insurer found greater incidence of these injuries when there were “missed signs of an impending uterine rupture,” including pain between contractions and fetal tachycardia (rapid heart rate). When uterine “dehiscence” occurs – a surgical scar (often from a previous Caesarean section) comes apart during an attempted vaginal delivery – the risk of injury or death for mother and/or child is great in these occurrences. For instance, a baby may be expelled into an abdominal cavity as the scar tears.
If the placenta detaches during this kind of event, the baby’s brain may be deprived of oxygen causing hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. An infant’s brain is resilient enough to withstand short periods of time without oxygen, but longer periods of disruption of oxygen can cause significant neurological damage and may result in cerebral palsy (CP). CP primarily impairs physical movement, including loss of function or mobility, but may also contribute to seizures, a learning impairment, and vision or hearing loss.
Other commons forms of birth injuries include:
- Shoulder dystocia and brachial plexus injuries: Shoulder dystocia occurs in about 1% of live births when the baby’s shoulders lodge against mother’s pelvic bone. In one to four live births per 1,000, injuries to the brachial plexus can occur. The brachial plexus is a large network of nerves running from the neck to the arms. Injuries to this nerve network (particularly stretching) occur in and commonly result in brachial palsies (Erb’s Palsy and Klumpke’s Palsy).
- Broken bones, bruising, scarring and lacerations occurring during a delivery causing soft-tissue damage or nerve damage.
- Meconium Aspiration: Lungs with the presence of aspirates such as meconium (infant fecal matter) and amniotic fluids)
- Placental Insufficiency: Insufficient delivery of oxygen and nutrients from the placenta to the infant.
These injuries and others may be the result of obstetrical malpractice.
When A Mother Or Her Baby Are Hurt
It is tragic when a day that should be joyous becomes associated with sadness and pain, particularly when a newborn’s life will be forever changed by negligent actions by medical staff. As you start to wonder how you will be able to cope with and adapt to a serious injury or disability, you may not know where to turn or how to begin to put your life back together.
Howie, Sacks and Henry’s birth injury lawyers can help in Calgary if you or a loved one experienced a serious birth injury. Our team has been recognized as one of Canada’s top personal injury firms.
HSH birth injury lawyers have the expertise to handle cases involving complicated birth injuries. A member of our team will be pleased to meet you in your own home in the Calgary area or at a nearby consultation office. We will explain your legal options, assist in arranging medical testing and expert evaluations to determine the nature of injuries and estimate costs of continuing care if needed, and support you every step of the way as we bring your case forward.
Our empathetic lawyers understand how emotionally devastating and stressful this process can be, and you can be sure we will treat you with the compassion, care, kindness and respect you deserve during this trying time in your life.
One brief, moment in time can change a life forever. HSH birth injury lawyers are here to help you seek the financial resources you need to ensure the many moments that follow will lead to better days and better times.
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Among the best in Canada
Since 2011, our peers have consistently voted for us as one of Canada’s top personal injury firms in Canadian Lawyer magazine’s annual rankings of the top personal injury boutiques in Canada. With decades of experience helping accident victims and their families, our firm understands the laws that affect your right 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.