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When a newborn emerges into the world, everyone present anxiously waits to hear her take a first breath or let out a big cry. But if the baby isn’t breathing, is limp, has a bluish skin colour or sounds as though she is struggling to breath or there is a crackling in her lungs, medical providers must act quickly to ensure she doesn’t suffer any long term damage.

All these signs, combined with the presence of meconium stained amniotic fluid, point to meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS). Meconium is the first fecal matter that builds ups in the fetus during the latter stages of a pregnancy. While meconium is present in amniotic fluid in more than one in ten normal pregnancies, it can also be a sign of fetal distress from lack of oxygen, difficult or prolonged labour, maternal conditions (diabetes or high blood pressure) or an aging placenta (especially if the birth is past due).

While many babies born with meconium present in the amniotic fluid have no health issues, and other require minimal intervention (mild stimulation or a face mask), others require special monitoring and treatments to prevent long-term damage to the lungs, brain or other organs due to infection and inflammation.

Medical providers must be careful to note signs of MAS, including bradycardia or low fetal heart rate prior to birth and low APGAR scores or abnormal blood-gas readings at birth. They must ensure they exercise good judgment and follow standard practices to minimize any damage to the newborn. If these standards of care are breached due to negligence or incompetence and the baby suffers serious harm as a result, it’s called obstetrical malpractice – and it can lead to potentially life-changing birth injuries.

Obstetrical Malpractice and Preventable Birth Injuries

Obstetrical malpractice can cause or contribute to a preventable birth injury at any point during a pregnancy or in the period immediately following birth. Examples of negligent or incompetent actions/inaction that may breach standards of care include:

  • inadequate management of maternal medications or maternal or fetal health
  • excessive force or poor technique during an extraction
  • misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis of a serious medical condition
  • failure to perform standard tests and screenings, improperly administering tests, or faulty tests
  • poor post-birth monitoring for complications

These forms of action or inaction can lead to preventable birth injuries that may cause permanent damage to the brain, spinal cord and nerves, and other organs. Some common type of birth injuries include:

  • Perinatal asphyxia, anoxia or hypoxia (oxygen deprivation often indicated by fetal tachycardia)
  • Placental insufficiency (a compressed, detached or otherwise compromised placenta preventing transmission of nutrients and oxygen and the elimination of waste)
  • Brachial palsies (torn or stretched nerves between the neck and shoulders often caused by pulling or use of excessive force after a shoulder dystocia)
  • Spinal cord injuries (from undiagnosed spina bifida or birth trauma)
  • Kernicterus (a neurotoxic condition caused by severe and untreated jaundice)

When Your Loved One Has Been Hurt, We Can Help

A preventable error or lapse in judgment by a medical provider can occur in just moments. But for a pregnant woman, her fetus or her newborn, the consequences can last a lifetime. You should not have to bear the costs associated with the accompanying pain, suffering and loss on your own.

Howie, Sacks and Henry’s birth injury lawyers can help you to make an obstetrical malpractice claim in Whitby. Together, we can seek the financial resources you deserve for harm you’ve experienced and to help cover the costs for your loved one’s current and future care.

Consistently named as one of the Top 10 personal injury firms in Canada, Howie, Sacks and Henry is recognized for our expertise in this complex area of law. Our birth injury lawyers have cultivated the knowledge and skill to be effective legal representatives and advocates for clients with even the most complicated cases.

An HSH birth injury lawyer can arrange to visit you in your own home in the Whitby area or at a nearby consultation office. As we listen to the details of your birth story with great empathy, we’ll explain your legal rights, advise you on possible courses of action, and answer any questions you may have to ensure you’re comfortable with the process. We will also be pleased to facilitate any testing, evaluations or therapies you’ll need to support your case and your rehabilitation and recovery.

With HSH’s reputation as a firm that strives to provide client-centred care, you can be confident that we will always see you as more than a file. Trust an HSH birth injury lawyer to be on your side and by your side in Whitby. We can’t change the tragic injuries that occured in the past, but as your staunch supporter and advocate, we will work diligently to give you hope for a better future.

Looking to work with a birth injury lawyer in Whitby? 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.