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chicago car crash lawyerIt is still early in the fall, but the Midwest’s famous weather events will begin happening more frequently, and Illinois drivers should be prepared. Rain, snow, and sleet reduce visibility and make road conditions much more hazardous, increasing weather-related car accidents. All this may leave Illinois drivers wondering: If a car accident happens that is directly or indirectly caused by bad weather conditions, who is responsible? 

Negligence and Bad Weather Conditions

Whether or not a driver is responsible (or “liable,” in legal terms) for causing an accident is largely dependent on whether the driver acted negligently. Negligence occurs when someone fails to do something that a reasonably careful person would do - or when someone does something that a reasonably careful person would not do - under similar circumstances. If a driver does not act reasonably in bad weather, they could be held liable for causing a car accident. 

But what exactly does “reasonable” mean in this context? Most people would agree that a driver is not obligated to creep along the main thoroughfare at three miles per hour just because the temperature is below freezing, and there may be a small chance of black ice. Despite the inherent difficulty in setting a strict definition as to what might be considered reasonable, courts and juries can make fair decisions based on the relevant facts. 

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In January of this year, an 81-year-old woman with dementia left her Illinois nursing home residence and wandered away, eventually slipping on ice and falling. Police found her after a neighbor heard her calling for help. She was not wearing winter clothing in 25-degree weather, and her pants were soaked through with water. 

Fortunately, this woman’s life was saved due to the help of a watchful neighbor, but stories like hers do not always end well. This incident illustrates one of the most dangerous risks inherent in inadequate nursing home care: Residents wandering into unsafe areas or eloping from the facility and getting hurt. 

Negligence Can Lead to Residents Wandering Into Danger

One of the most common behaviors of individuals with dementia or other memory-related illness is that of wandering or elopement. Wandering refers to when residents walk around the nursing home facility itself; elopement is when residents leave the premises altogether. 

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cook county injury lawyerIn July, several brands owned by pharmaceutical and consumer goods giant Johnson & Johnson issued recalls of sunscreen products over concerns that the products contain low levels of benzene, a cancer-causing chemical. These brands included products from Neutrogena and Aveeno. Johnson & Johnson’s actions were not required by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but rather were voluntary and done “out of an abundance of caution.”

Researchers have asked the FDA to issue recalls for more brands after they found evidence suggesting octocrylene, another carcinogenic chemical, may be present in sunscreens produced by major companies. The researchers are concerned that octocrylene degrades to benzophenone, which can interfere with important hormones such as estrogen. These recent developments raise important questions of product liability on the part of companies producing these products. 

What are Carcinogens? 

A carcinogen is a substance that makes the formation of cancer more likely, either by disrupting metabolic processes or by damaging a person’s genome. Smoking cigarettes is a well-known source of many carcinogens, and the effects of tobacco’s carcinogens and their contribution to rates of lung cancer have been well-researched and documented. 

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chicago birth injury lawyerPitocin is a prescription version of the naturally occurring hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is famously known as the “love hormone” for its important role in helping people bond with each other. Oxytocin also plays a major role during childbirth. When a woman’s body is getting ready for delivery, it produces oxytocin to induce contractions, the major muscle spasms that help push the baby out. 

Unfortunately, Pitocin is not always properly administered and its effects are not always sufficiently supervised in hospitals. This can lead to serious birth injuries for the mother and baby, up to and including neonatal death. This article discusses the uses of Pitocin, the risks of Pitocin, and what potential victims of Pitocin misuse birth injuries can do. 

When is Pitocin Used During Childbirth? 

Doctors sometimes give women Pitocin as part of the labor-inducing process. If a baby is likely to be too large when it reaches full gestational age, or if a woman has certain risk factors like preeclampsia or a stalled labor, a doctor may use Pitocin to begin or speed up labor and delivery. If used correctly, Pitocin will trigger the body to begin contractions or to increase the rate of contractions. 

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chicago injury lawyerSmoking cigarettes used to be ubiquitous. Virtually everybody smoked - even in places we now find ridiculous, like hospitals and airplanes. Then research proved the seriously detrimental effects of smoking tobacco, and although some people still smoke cigarettes today, the risks are well established. 

However, in recent years, electronic cigarettes (also known as vape pens or e-cigarettes) have skyrocketed in popularity. With the advent of legal recreational marijuana in states like Illinois, the use of vaping products is a large part of marijuana culture. Many people believe that vape pens are safer than traditional methods of smoking marijuana and that they face little or no risks from vaping. New research shows this is not the case and that consumers may face serious risks from the contents of vape pens, as well as from defective products

Vaping Causes Lung Illness

Corresponding with the increased use of vaping products, a new phenomenon known as “e-cigarette or vaping product use-associated lung injury,” or EVALI, has arisen. Victims of this health problem report symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue, coughing, and other concerning respiratory issues. Thousands of cases have been reported, and people have even died. Most reported EVALI cases come from people who vape marijuana products. 

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illinois construction lawyerConstruction workers in Illinois are a large part of the underappreciated workforce that makes our world go round. Every day, rain or shine, they show up to do the difficult work of building the places we work and live. Unfortunately, construction workers are exposed to the inherent risks of the job. Serious injuries and fatal construction accidents due to falls, slips, and contact with objects or equipment occur every year. In 2019 in Illinois alone, 30 fatalities and many more injuries occurred in the private construction industry. 

Who is Responsible for Construction Site Accidents? 

Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the employers to provide a safe worksite. Budgetary concerns and time constraints often pressure employers to cut corners, and workers face increased hazards as a result. Injured construction workers in Illinois are generally able to recover compensation for injuries and loss of income through workers’ compensation benefits. Illinois has a no-fault workers’ compensation system, meaning that a worker is eligible for benefits from the employer’s insurance whether the injury was the fault of the worker, a co-worker, or the employer. 

Additionally, when a third party is fully or partially responsible for the injury or death (such as other companies working on the same site or manufacturers of defective equipment), injured workers or the families of workers who died in an accident may be able to pursue damages through a personal injury claim. 

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IL injury lawyerAs we age, certain functions become more difficult. The elderly population is at an increased risk for falls and with decreased bone density, those falls are much more likely to cause injuries or death as a result. With nursing homes catering to the elderly population, it is important for Illinois nursing homes and those around the country to employ safety measures to help protect their residents from these incidents. Unfortunately, falls are a common occurrence. Each year, approximately half of all nursing home residents will experience a fall. The question when a resident does fall is what level of liability, if any, does the nursing home facility and staff have.

Factors for Establishing Liability

When a nursing home resident experiences a fall, the nursing home owner or person in charge of the facility can be found liable if they were negligent. Negligence can be proven if the owner or individual in charge:

  • Owed a duty to the person who was injured - The owner or individual in charge of the nursing home owed a duty to the resident who fell.
  • Breached their duty - The owner or individual in charge must have either taken action they should not have taken or failed to take action they should have.
  • Caused injuries because of the breach - The actions or inactions of the owner or individual in charge led to the resident’s injuries.
  • The injuries of the person who fell resulted in damages - The resident’s injuries resulted in damages (e.g. medical bills).

Situational Proof of Negligence

In some cases, the circumstances surrounding the accident demonstrate the negligence of the nursing home. For example, if the resident fell and suffered injuries due to water that had spilled and was left on the floor for an extended period of time, the nursing home could be found negligent for those injuries if any of the following applied:

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IL malpractice lawyerPatients put a great deal of trust in doctors and medical professionals. They expect to receive quality care, including proper evaluation of their symptoms and effective treatment to address any concerns that may affect their health. Unfortunately, doctors can make mistakes, and when medical malpractice occurs, patients can suffer serious injuries that impact their health and well-being. Diagnostic errors are some of the most common forms of medical negligence, and a failure to diagnose a disease, illness, or health condition can result in a patient not receiving the necessary treatment. In these cases, patients will need to work with an attorney to determine their options for receiving compensation for the damages they have suffered due to these diagnostic errors.

Reasons Doctors May Fail to Diagnose an Illness

Diagnostic errors are among the most common forms of medical negligence, affecting more than 12 million people in the United States every year. Around four million patients per year suffer serious injuries due to diagnostic errors, and these cases result in over 40,000 wrongful deaths. There are many reasons why a medical professional may fail to diagnose a serious illness that could affect a patient, including:

  • Lack of experience - A doctor may not be familiar with the unique issues that affect a patient, or they may not have received the proper training to identify certain symptoms or address some types of conditions. To avoid these issues, a doctor should consult with other professionals or refer a patient to a specialist who will be able to provide the proper diagnosis and treatment.
  • Testing errors - Medical tests are often necessary to properly diagnose an illness, but if these tests are not performed correctly, a person’s condition may go undiagnosed. In some cases, a doctor may fail to order the proper tests, or they may misinterpret the test results or fail to recognize that results indicate a certain illness. Errors may also occur during the testing process, such as accidentally switching samples from different patients or incorrect reporting of test results.
  • Dismissing or minimizing patient-reported symptoms - In some cases, a doctor may believe that a patient is exaggerating their symptoms, or they may fail to fully consider how an illness has affected a person. This is a major concern for patients who are minorities, who are more likely to have doctors fail to take their self-reported symptoms seriously. When a doctor does not properly respond to a person’s symptoms, a serious illness may not be diagnosed in time to receive the proper treatment.

Contact Our Cook County Medical Malpractice Lawyers

If you have suffered harm because a doctor failed to diagnose a serious medical condition, you may be able to receive financial compensation that addresses the ways you and your family have been affected by these issues. At Winters Salzetta O’Brien & Richardson, LLC, we can help you demonstrate that you suffered harm due to medical negligence, and we will fight to make sure you will be properly compensated. Contact our Chicago misdiagnosis injury attorneys at 312-236-6324 to set up your free consultation today.

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IL accident lawyerChicago is a great city for bicyclists, and it provides many people with the opportunity to use bikes to travel to and from work or for personal purposes. However, the city also sees quite a bit of heavy traffic, especially during busy times of the day. Even though many of the city’s streets have bike lanes and other features meant to protect bicyclists, collisions between bicycles and motor vehicles still occur. In many cases, bicycle accidents take place because drivers act negligently and fail to operate their vehicles safely, and injured bicycles will want to understand how they can pursue financial compensation from a negligent driver.

Bike Accidents Caused by Driver Negligence

Drivers are required to treat bicycles the same as other vehicles. When drivers fail to respect bicyclists’ rights to share the road, they are more likely to strike a bicycle or cause collisions that can seriously injure others. Some forms of driver negligence that are likely to lead to bicycle accidents include:

  • Illegal turns - Drivers should always check for bicycles before turning at intersections or into alleys or driveways. When making a left turn, drivers should yield the right of way to bicycles approaching from the opposite direction. Drivers should also avoid making a right turn in front of a bicycle. Failure to follow these rules could cause a driver to strike a bicyclist or cause a collision by blocking a bicycle’s path.
  • Illegal passing - Drivers should always make sure there is at least three feet of space between their vehicle and a bicycle when passing a bicyclist on the left. Passing too closely or attempting to pass a bicycle within the same lane may cause a collision or force a bicycle off the road.
  • Following too closely - Tailgating can be dangerous in any situation, and following closely behind a bicycle may make it impossible for a driver to stop in time if a bicyclist needs to brake suddenly. Striking a bicycle from behind can lead to serious bodily harm, especially if the bicyclist is thrown forward into an intersection and struck by other vehicles.
  • Distracted driving - Drivers who take their attention away from the road are more likely to fail to notice the movements of bicycles near their vehicle. Actions such as texting while driving or looking away from the road to adjust the radio may cause a driver to strike a bicycle when making a turn, changing lanes, or proceeding through an intersection.
  • Dooring - After parking near a bike lane or a road where bicycles are traveling, a driver or another person in a vehicle may open their door into the path of a bicycle. When a bicyclist collides with a car door, they can be thrown to the ground, or they may even be pushed into traffic, leading to dangerous collisions with other vehicles.

Contact Our Cook County Bike Accident Lawyers

The lawyers of Winters Salzetta O’Brien & Richardson, LLC provide legal help and representation for bicyclists who have been injured in collisions with motor vehicles. We work to ensure that negligent drivers are held liable for the injuries they have inflicted and that victims are fully compensated for their damages. Contact our Chicago bicycle accident attorneys by calling 312-236-6324 to arrange a complimentary consultation.

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IL injury lawyerRecently, people throughout the United States were horrified by the collapse of a 12-story condo building in Miami, Florida. The 40-year-old building had shown signs of deterioration due to the salty climate and regular storms in the area, but its owners had not taken action to perform repairs or address the risks of a collapse. The rubble of the building is still being searched for survivors, but at least 54 people have been confirmed dead, and it is likely that the death toll will be over 100.

This disaster demonstrates the importance of following building codes and ensuring that a structure is safe for its occupants. Unfortunately, far too many building owners, including many in the Chicago area, fail to regularly inspect their buildings and perform repairs to ensure that they are in compliance with safety regulations. When people are injured because of the negligence of a building’s owner, they may be able to pursue a premises liability lawsuit and recover compensation for their injuries and damages.

Injuries Due to Building Code Violations

There are many ways that failure to follow building codes can threaten people’s safety, including:

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cook county truck accident lawyerCurrently, the trucking industry in the United States is experiencing a critical shortage of truck drivers. Industry experts have reported that companies have been struggling to recruit new drivers for the past several years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted their ability to provide drivers with the proper training. At the same time, the need to ship cargo has increased since there has been a surge in e-commerce during the pandemic. 

These factors have combined to create a situation where fewer drivers are available to meet the increasing demand for shipping, which has made it more likely that drivers will be spending more time on the road. Because of this, truck drivers are more likely to push themselves beyond their limits, increasing the chances that they will be fatigued or drowsy while behind the wheel. This can lead to dangerous truck accidents, and in these cases, victims will need to work with an attorney to determine how they can hold a negligent truck driver and trucking company accountable for their injuries and damages.

Dangers of Truck Driver Fatigue

Federal hours of service regulations place restrictions on the amount of time commercial truck drivers can spend driving. In addition to limits on the number of hours they can drive at a time, they are required to take regular breaks and spend a certain number of hours off-duty after a shift behind the wheel, and there is a limit on the number of hours they can drive each week. 

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chicago birth injury lawyerThere are multiple ways that birth injuries can cause harm to both children and mothers. While some injuries are unavoidable, others occur due to medical malpractice. Meconium aspiration syndrome is one issue that can cause serious injuries to children, and if it is not addressed correctly, it can lead to ongoing health concerns or permanent disabilities. Parents of children who have been harmed by meconium aspiration will need to work with an attorney to determine how they can recover financial compensation for the harm done to their child and their family.

Effects of Meconium Aspiration Syndrome

The first stool that a child passes after being born consists of meconium, a thick, tar-like substance. In some cases, a child may pass meconium before being born, and it may become mixed in with the amniotic fluid in the mother’s uterus. This may occur because the child experiences fetal distress due to the use of Pitocin to induce labor, prolonged labor, or difficulty passing through the birth canal. 

During the process of delivery, the child may breathe meconium into their lungs. Because meconium is so thick, it can coat the surface of the lungs, leading to difficulty breathing and processing oxygen. A lack of oxygen can result in multiple types of health issues, including brain damage that may lead to developmental disorders such as cerebral palsy. 

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illinois nursing home abuse lawyerFor many elderly people, nursing homes provide the best solution to ensure that they will receive the medical care and assistance they need. When placing a loved one in a nursing home, a family should have the assurance that the person’s needs will be met and that they will be safe from harm. Unfortunately, some nursing homes do not live up to these expectations, and patients may suffer serious physical and emotional injuries because of abuse by staff members or other residents. Families who are concerned about the possibility of nursing home abuse will want to understand the signs that may indicate that their loved one has been the victim of these types of harmful behavior.

Signs of Physical, Verbal, or Sexual Abuse

Physical abuse of nursing home residents can take many forms. Staff members may strike or shove a resident they believe is uncooperative or difficult or even restrain a resident to a bed or chair. Signs that a person has suffered physical abuse include serious injuries such as broken bones or brain trauma, as well as unexplained bruises, cuts, or scratches. Rope marks on a person’s wrists or ankles may indicate that they have been improperly restrained, or bedsores or hygiene issues may show that they have been confined to a bed or chair or restricted from moving about freely.

While verbal and emotional abuse may not be as obvious as physical abuse, these forms of abuse can also be very harmful. Staff members may yell at, berate, or threaten a person or isolate them socially, disallowing them from interacting with others or participating in gatherings and activities. Signs of emotional abuse include agitation, anxiety, depression, social withdrawal, or other unexplained changes in a person’s behavior. A victim may also lack interest in activities they had previously enjoyed, act fearful around certain staff members, or experience suicidal thoughts.

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Chicago spine surgery error lawyerPatients who undergo surgery expect surgeons and other medical professionals who are involved in the procedure to take the proper care to protect their health and safety. Unfortunately, mistakes can occur during a surgical procedure that may cause a person to suffer additional harm on top of their existing medical conditions. In some cases, surgeons may perform procedures on the wrong part of a patient’s body. This is especially common in spinal procedures where surgery is performed at the wrong level of the spine. In these cases, patients may be able to hold a medical provider responsible for their negligence through a medical malpractice lawsuit.

How Can Wrong-Level Spinal Surgery Errors Occur?

Studies have found that as many as half of all neurosurgeons have performed surgeries at the wrong level of the spine at some point in their careers. While it may seem unthinkable that a medical professional would accidentally operate on the wrong part of the body, these types of mistakes are more common in spinal surgeries. Wrong-level surgeries most often occur due to issues with intraoperative imaging or confusion about counting techniques used to identify the vertebrae where surgery should occur.

Imaging methods such as X-rays or MRIs will usually be used before performing surgery to identify the area of the spine where the procedure will be performed. Imaging will also be used during a procedure, but these images may not always match up with the pre-operative images, leading to confusion about where the surgery should be performed. Separate images will usually need to be taken of the cervical vertebrae in the neck, the thoracic vertebrae in the upper back, and the lumbar vertebrae in the lower back, and there can be some overlap between images, making them difficult to read.

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Chicago, IL car accident lawyer for subsequent medical negligenceMany personal injury cases are relatively straightforward. When a person or organization is directly responsible for someone else’s injuries, they may be held liable for the damages the victim has suffered. For example, a driver who is at fault in a car accident may be held responsible for the damages experienced by those who were injured in the crash, including the costs of medical treatment, the income they lost, the damage to their vehicle or other property, and their pain and suffering. However, additional factors can sometimes complicate these types of cases. What if a person was injured in a car accident, and when receiving treatment, they suffered further injuries due to medical malpractice? In these cases, victims will want to work with an attorney who can help them determine who was liable and hold those parties responsible for all of their damages.

Successive Negligence in Car Accident Cases

Most of the time, injuries from car accidents or medical malpractice are two separate issues. A negligent driver may be held responsible for injuries caused in a car crash, and a negligent medical professional may be liable for injuries caused to patients. However, these types of cases may become combined if additional medical malpractice injuries occur during treatment for car accident injuries or if a person’s injuries are aggravated because of medical negligence.

Even though it may seem that these are two separate types of cases, Illinois courts have found that if a person is found liable for someone’s injuries, they are also liable for any subsequent injuries that occurred when the victim was receiving medical treatment. This is true even in medical malpractice cases where additional injuries occurred because of the negligence of a health care provider. However, courts have also found that a defendant may only be held liable for injuries that were a “reasonably foreseeable” result of their negligence.

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Chicago, IL motorcycle crash injury attorneyAs warmer weather arrives in Illinois during the spring and summer, many motorcyclists are looking to hit the road. After spending most of the last year indoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, cyclists will be glad to be back on the open road. However, many other drivers will also be spending more time on the road, which may increase the likelihood of dangerous motorcycle accidents. Cyclists who are injured in a collision will want to understand who was at fault and determine how they can pursue financial compensation for their injuries and damages.

Driver Negligence Leading to Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcyclists are much more likely to be injured in a collision than people in passenger vehicles. While cars and trucks include seat belts, airbags, and other safety systems, motorcycles do not offer this type of protection, and a cyclist can suffer serious bodily harm or wrongful death in an impact with another vehicle. Most of the time, motorcycle accidents are caused by driver negligence, and this negligence may include:

  • Speeding - People who drive above the speed limit are more likely to lose control of their vehicle or be unable to stop in time to avoid colliding with a motorcycle. Drivers who speed may also run red or yellow lights or stop signs, causing them to strike a motorcyclist who is traveling through the intersection legally.

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Illinois truck accident lawyer winter weatherThe winter is one of the most dangerous times of the year to be on the road. Winter weather can lead to snow and ice on the roadway, as well as reduced visibility, increasing the risk that drivers will lose control of their vehicles. Even in clear weather, low temperatures can lead to safety issues, such as “black ice” that may not be noticeable until it causes a vehicle to lose traction. These safety concerns can affect commercial trucks even more than other vehicles, since due to the large size and weight of tractor-trailer trucks, they require more time and distance to come to a stop, and winter weather conditions can cause a truck driver to lose control of their vehicle. To prevent truck accidents, drivers should be sure to follow the proper safety procedures during the winter.

Commercial Truck Safety in the Winter

While truck drivers should take care to drive safely at all times, they will need to take additional measures to ensure that they can operate their vehicles correctly and avoid collisions during the winter. These measures include:

  • Performing pre-trip inspections - A truck’s systems should be inspected closely to identify and address any safety issues before beginning a delivery trip. Drivers should ensure that tires are properly inflated and can provide enough traction, that brakes and trailer couplings are functioning correctly, that antifreeze and coolant levels are topped up, and that windshield wipers and defrosters are working properly, 

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Illinois failure to diagnose breast cancer lawyerBreast cancer is the type of cancer that most commonly affects women. Fortunately, when breast cancer is detected in time, a person can receive the proper treatment, and there is a 91% survival rate within five years after breast cancer is diagnosed. However, if breast cancer is not diagnosed properly, a patient may not be able to receive treatment to prevent the spread of cancer, and they can suffer serious harm as a result. Failure to diagnose breast cancer may occur because doctors failed to order the proper tests or because test results were not interpreted correctly. In these cases, patients will want to work with a medical malpractice attorney to determine their options.

Diagnostic Mammograms and Targeted Breast Ultrasounds

Imaging tests are the methods that are most commonly used to detect breast cancer. Women routinely receive screening mammograms, which are used to look for signs of breast cancer in patients who do not have any symptoms. A diagnostic mammogram may be ordered based on the results of a screening mammogram or because a patient has experienced other symptoms indicating breast cancer, such as lumps or pain in the breast, changes in breast size or shape, or discharge from the nipple.

Diagnostic mammograms take detailed X-rays of the breast from multiple angles to examine abnormalities and look for tumors that may be too small to detect using other methods. These mammograms can also detect ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), which involve abnormalities in the breast ducts that may progress into cancer.

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Illinois birth injury attorneysEven though thousands of children are born every day, labor and delivery can be risky, and children can suffer birth injuries due to negligence by doctors, nurses, or other hospital staff. Brain injuries are some of the most serious types of birth injuries, and they can lead to cerebral palsy, cognitive impairments, loss of vision or hearing, and other permanent disabilities. In many cases, brain injuries are caused by a lack of oxygen during labor and delivery, and cooling is one form of treatment that can be effective in preventing further brain damage.

How Is Cooling Used to Treat Birth Injuries?

There are a variety of issues that can occur during birth that may cut off the supply of oxygen to an infant. These include placental abruption, umbilical cord prolapse, uterine rupture, or any other conditions that affect the flow of blood and oxygen throughout the child’s body. Asphyxia during birth can cause a condition known as hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). In these cases, a lack of oxygen to the brain can cause brain cells to die, and when blood flow resumes, toxins released by dead cells can cause additional brain damage, leading to a chain reaction that can cause extensive brain injuries or death.

To reduce brain damage, a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) may use therapeutic hypothermia, or total body cooling. This treatment involves placing the child on a blanket which circulates cool water near the child’s body, lowering their body temperature to around 92 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature will be maintained for 72 hours before the child’s body is allowed to return to its normal temperature. Cooling therapy can limit the spread of toxins and reduce the chances of additional brain injuries.

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Chicago birth injury attorneysDuring the process of labor and delivery, a child’s condition should be monitored closely, and medical personnel should respond quickly to any issues that could lead to birth injuries. Electronic fetal monitoring is often used to view and record an infant’s heart rate during labor, and doctors and nurses are trained to recognize the signs of fetal distress. If personnel do not properly interpret fetal heart rate tracings, or if they do not respond correctly to issues that could threaten the health of the child, this may be considered medical malpractice.

Category II vs. Category III Fetal Heart Rate Tracings

When electronic fetal monitoring is used, fetal heart rate (FHR) tracings will typically fall into one of three categories. Category I tracings are considered normal, and they are usually a sign that labor can proceed without risks or complications. Category II or III tracings, however, may indicate that a child is experiencing distress, and action may need to be taken to protect the child’s safety or ensure that delivery can be completed while minimizing the risk of injury.

Category II tracings are considered “indeterminate,” and they may include a slower heart rate than normal (bradycardia) or a rapid heart rate (tachycardia). Category III tracings are more serious, and they may involve rapid acceleration or deceleration of heart rate or repetitive changes that fall outside of normal FHR patterns. Both category II and category III tracings may indicate that a child is experiencing problems that may affect their ability to deliver oxygen to the brain, and lack of oxygen may lead to permanent brain injuries.

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