The U.S. has long had the highest rate of maternal fatalities during childbirth of any country in the developed world.

STOP.  Read that again.  We are inundated with so many statistics these days that we lose sight of which ones matter.  This one matters.  This is insane.

The rate of maternal injuries and deaths during childbirth in U.S. hospitals has been steadily increasing over the decade. For their part, hospitals have insisted that this increase was largely out of their control and not a reflection of any declining quality of care. Hospital advocates suggest that poverty rates and an increase in pre-existing maternal health conditions are to blame for these morbidity rates.

A recent study identified several specific conditions during pregnancy that appear to increase a baby’s chances of suffering hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) which is a very serious type of childbirth brain injury. This research helps advance our understanding of HIE’s causes, which will allow improvements in prevention and treatment.  This is what we have to work towards — getting the science and the medicine better so we have less oxygen-deprived children during the birthing process.

What is hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy?

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), is a type of brain injury resulting from a lack of oxygen and blood flow to the baby’s brain. It can lead to seizures, difficulty feeding, low muscle tone, organ dysfunction, and breathing difficulties. HIE may result in long-term neurologic disabilities such as cerebral palsy, intraventricular hemorrhages, and learning disabilities.

A Michigan midwife is accused of negligence for the death of a newborn. A malpractice attorney plans to file a lawsuit against the midwife. The case pertains to a baby born on February 8, 2018. He died three days later. The cause of death was allegedly brain injuries resulting from a delivery gone wrong at home.

baby-in-womb-300x160The attorney described the midwife as “stubborn” and “incompetent.” He also argued that the woman had no nursing or medical credentials and that the mother should have been transferred to a hospital. Instead of being transferred, the baby suffered brain injuries as a result of the botched delivery and died after three days. The attorney also noted that the baby was healthy, but that the delivery resulted in complications.

The certified midwife delivered the baby at home in the frank breech position. This position involves the baby’s buttocks facing the birth canal and its legs positioned straight up in front of its body. The feet are positioned closer to the head. Normally, a baby moves into the delivery position a few weeks prior to birth. However, in this case, the baby failed to do so. While babies born in this position may be healthy, there can be an increased risk for birth injuries than in normal births.

Since cerebral palsy (CP) is associated with children, much of the data consists of infants and young children. There is little information on difficulties that adults with cerebral palsy face as they get older. However, a recent study fills in this lack of data. Published in JAMA Neurology, it concluded that adults with cerebral palsy are more likely to be diagnosed with depression and anxiety.

The study                               

baby-in-womb-300x160Conducted by British, American, and Irish researchers, they utilized data from the United Kingdom’s Clinic Practice Research Datalink primary care database. Their data spans the years 1987 to 2015. They examined 1,705 adults, ages 18 to 99, with cerebral palsy who were also diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Each adult was compared to three adults without CP. These individuals were chosen for having the same age, gender, and primary care practice as adults with CP. The data covers about 7% of the country’s population. It consists of clinical events, prescriptions, referrals, and hospital admissions.

Nike has just signed their first professional athlete with cerebral palsy, cross-country runner Justin Gallegos. They signed the University of Oregon junior to a three-year contract.  A moving video posted on YouTube shows the exact moment that he had received the news, which was on World Cerebral Palsy Day. The announcement caught Justin by surprise, as he was finishing up a race.  Great moment for cerebral palsy victims and their families and, obviously, a nice piece of marketing for Nike.  I feel like I’m being a little manipulated by this story and I still have an urge to run out and buy some Nikes.

Justin’s Story

shutterstock_233474563-300x200-300x200Throughout his young life, Gallegos overcame significant adversity due to his condition. He learned to walk at 2 years old, with the assistance of a walker. However, physical therapy helped improve his stride well enough that he did not need it by the time he reached Kindergarten. Gallegos initially wanted to join his high school’s football team, but his father Brent persuaded him to join the cross country team instead. Brent and Justin spoke to his high school’s cross country coaches Darren James and Larry David about possibly joining the team. Brent assured both coaches that their son could run three miles needed for a cross-country race, and Justin would have a strong work ethic.

Medical errors can seriously affect patients. While mistakes made may not affect health outcomes, sometimes fatal results may occur. A Johns Hopkins study discovered that over 250,000 people die in the United States each year due to medical errors. This makes it the third-leading cause of death, after heart disease and cancer.

One of the medical errors that are harming patients pertains to medical record documentation. Below are a few examples of how one of the errors that are harming people are mistakes in entering medical records.

Young Woman in Florida with Headaches

If you or a loved one is taking valsartan, you may or may not know about the recent recalls or lawsuits involving it. All of them involve valsartan-products manufactured in China by the pharmaceutical company Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical (ZHP). They all note that ZHP-manufactured valsartan contain N-nitrodimethylamine (NDMA), which has been categorized a potential carcinogen.

Valsartan Worldwide Recalls

med-mal-300x200-300x200ZHP-manufactured Valsartan could be found in various countries throughout the world. The relatively low manufacturing costs in China made it attractive for countries such as the United States to import it. While these generic drugs may be cheaper to make in China, there are fewer regulations that ensure these drugs are safely manufactured. This is the tradeoff that you get when buying some generic drug imports. As a result of the discovery of NDMA in ZHP-manufactured valsartan, the European Union, Taiwan, Canada, the United States, and South Korea announced successive recalls in July 2018.

Serratia marcescens outbreaks are rare.  When they happen, it is a big deal.  Here are the eight things you want to know about these infections that often end in medical malpractice cases.

  1. What is Serratia marcescens?

Serratia marcescens is a nosocomial opportunistic pathogen. This bacterial pathogen has been isolated from a number of different human clinical specimens and from some non-human sources. It is naturally occurring in soil and water. At room temperature, it produces a red pigment. Serratia marcescens has a history of causing infections in both children and adults. It is transmitted through direct contact.

A team of researchers at University College London has developed a device known as a broadband near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) that uses light to detect brain damage in infants. They are now planning a clinical trial of the NIRS.

What is near-infrared spectroscopy?

Operating-room-pic-3-300x211Near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) is a spectroscopic method that uses the near-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum. There are many different applications of NIRS which include astronomical spectroscopy, agricultural, pharmaceutical, and neonatal research.

The potentially dramatic impact of a stroke on your health and wellness cannot be understated. What many people don’t know is that strokes arise from several possible conditions, including brain ischemia (commonly referred to as cerebral or cerebrovascular ischemia).

If you or a loved one has suffered ischemic brain injury because of a doctor’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact Miller & Zois at 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation.

What is Brain Ischemia?