Long-Term Outcomes of Hypoxic-Ischemic Encephalopathy

by John McKiggan

In Milne v. St Joseph’s Health Centre, the court determined that Jessy Gibson should have been
born a healthy newborn. Tragically, as a result of the negligence in the
management of his mother’s care during labour and Jesse’s care during his
delivery, Jessy suffered catastrophic brain damage from oxygen deprivation.

As a result of this negligence,
Jessy suffers from hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) which has caused a
neuromuscular disorder called cerebral palsy.

Today, he is dependent on others for
his care 24 hours a day. Jessy is unable to communicate or even feed himself.
Jessy will never be able to live a normal life. He also suffers from spastic
diplegia, a condition where his limbs cannot be controlled. Jessy Gibson also
has visual impairments brought on by his brain injury.

Posted in: Birth Injuries

Infant Brain Bleeding and Birth Injuries

by John McKiggan

In 2008, eleven-year-old Cassidy
Ediger sued Dr. William Johnston, obstetrician and gynecologist for damages
that were caused by injuries during her birth at Chilliwack General Hospital in
British Columbia. Young Cassidy suffers permanent brain damage resulting from
deprivation of oxygen in the lead up to her birth when Dr. Johnston
unsuccessfully attempted to use a rotational forceps procedure to assist the
delivery. This failed attempt caused Cassidy’s heart action to slow down until
she was delivered by cesarean section and resuscitated eighteen minutes later.

Ms. Ediger, through her mother, alleged that Dr. Johnston was negligent in attempting the procedure in the first place. Further, she claimed that Dr. Johnston had attempted the procedure without having adequately ensured a back-up surgical team in the event surgery was needed, as it eventually did. Additionally, Ms. Ediger claimed that, even though she was only a fetus, Dr. Johnston had not informed her by way of her mother about the risks of the procedure or the alternatives to the procedure. Dr. Johnston denied that he had been negligent in attempting the procedure, he also contested that he had owed Ms. Cassidy the duty to inform her of the procedure, its risks or alternatives as she was just a fetus.

Determining Factors

Posted in: Birth Injuries

What to Do If Your Child is Injured During Birth

by John McKiggan

Having a child should be one of the happiest days of our lives. But if your child suffers a preventable injury during birth, the occasion can mark the beginning of a stressful and worrisome path. How was my child injured? Could it have been prevented? How am I going to care for my child in the future? All of these questions, and many more, can be a constant source of anxiety and concern.

The cost of caring for a seriously injured child can be
overwhelming. Many families simply do not have the financial resources
necessary to pay for the care their child needs, now and in the future. So,
what is a parent to do?

In certain circumstances, you may be able to file a medical
malpractice
lawsuit against the doctor or hospital to get compensation for
your child’s injuries in order to pay for the care your child needs.

Posted in: Birth Injuries

Moms Who Had Emergency C-Sections Due To Oxytocin Given By Moncton Nurse To File Claims

by John McKiggan

Last week the Moncton Hospital confirmed that an unidentified nurse had been fired after they confirmed that two mothers were given the drug oxytocin without their consent, resulting in emergency cesarean sections.

What is Oxytocin and why is it dangerous?

Oxytocin is a drug used in labour and delivery that causes the uterus to contract and speeds up labour. However, the drug can be dangerous for babies because it can cut off oxygen to the fetus and affect fetal heart rate. W

Posted in: Uncategorized

Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month

by John McKiggan

Cerebral palsy is a neurological birth injury that affects thousands of children and adults worldwide. March is known as Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month, which allows us the opportunity to educate others about cerebral palsy while celebrating those currently living with it.

During March, you may have seen people wearing green as a reflection of youthfulness and new growth, as well as hope for advancements in treatment and acceptance of those who live with cerebral palsy.

With so much happening in the world around us, cerebral palsy can easily be pushed into the back of our minds if it is not a part of our daily lives. But for those living with cerebral palsy (or who have a loved one with cerebral palsy), they face the reality of their condition every day with dignity and strength that leaves much to be admired.
What is Cerebral Palsy?
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of permanent movement disorders that appear in early childhood, affecting body movement and muscle coordination. Parents may notice developmental delays early, but an official diagnosis may be delayed until age two or later.

How Does Cerebral Palsy Affect Social Development?

by John McKiggan

The creation and building social relationships is one of many milestones that children affected by cerebral palsy may have difficulty in achieving. But how exactly does cerebral palsy affect social development, especially as children are learning how to walk, talk and interact with others?

Whether it is due to mobility, difficulties in communicating needs or a lack of confidence, BILA’s commitment to representing children and families affected by cerebral palsy has given us a particular insight on social development, and how families can overcome any obstruction that may impair their child’s ability to connect with others.

Benefits of Socialization

Is Neonatal Cooling Potential Evidence of Medical Malpractice?

by John McKiggan

How many children suffer brain injury during labour and delivery each year?
There are between 330,000 to 390,000 babies born in Canada each year.

Neonatal encephalopathy is a neurological (brain) injury that happens in approximately 1 out of 1000 to 6 out of 1000 births. So, approximately 330 to 1980 babies are born in Canada each year will suffer some form of neonatal encephalopathy.

You are more likely to die if you are admitted to the hospital on the weekend: Medical malpractice claims in Canada

by John McKiggan

The January issue of Men’s Health Magazine has published an article about the so-called “Weekend Effect”. It is a well-known phenomenon that has been studied for years that has established that patients are more likely to die in hospitals on the weekend compared to during the week.

A recent study in the journal of the American College of Cardiology studied 470 hospitals and determined that more than half of the patients experienced cardiac arrest on the weekend or at night.

Unfortunately, this is a well-known systemic problem and I wrote about it back in 2014: What is the safest time to be admitted to hospital? Weekend admissions carry higher risk of death. In that article I referenced a Canadian Institute for Health Information study that was conducted over three years that found a 4% increased risk of death on weekends compared to weekdays.

Delayed Cancer Diagnosis Can Give Rise to a Medical Malpractice Claim in Canada

by John McKiggan

It’s scary to hear the words, “You have cancer.” But the distress and concern of worrying about your health can be compounded by the realization that the diagnosis was delayed, allowing the cancer to grow and spread.

A delayed cancer diagnosis can give rise to a medical malpractice claim. This type of claim, however, faces many challenges that malpractice lawyers and their clients should be aware of.
Many Canadians will face a cancer diagnosis at some point
The Canadian Cancer Society reports that 2 of 5 Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime, and that 1 of 4 will die from cancer.  Since the 5-year survival rate of someone with cancer is about 63% (it varies according to the type of cancer) a missed or delayed diagnosis means that a patient may have missed a lifesaving opportunity for treatment.
Earlier Diagnosis =  Better Results
TNM - Stages of Cancer Graphic related to Delayed Cancer DiagnosisGenerally speaking, if one is diagnosed early, there is a greater chance of survival. But, what if a medical practitioner acts negligently in determining the health of a patient? There may be grounds for a medical malpractice claim if a doctor’s unreasonable delays in diagnosing cancer mean the patient loses the opportunity for effective medical care.
You Cannot Sue for “Loss of Chance” in Canada
Medical malpractice claims relating to a delayed diagnosis face many hurdles in Canada. Americans plaintiffs can try to show that a physician’s delayed diagnosis reduced their chances for successful treatments, by some percentage. Say a plaintiff in the U.S. claims that a delayed diagnosis reduced the chance of successful treatment by 20%. The plaintiff, then, can try to sue for 20% of potential future losses. This is called “loss of chance”. You cannot sue a medical practitioner for “loss of chance” like one could in the United States.
Burden of Proof in Cancer Claims
A plaintiff in Canada must show more than just a possible loss of chance. Plaintiffs in this country have to prove, on the balance of probabilities, that an earlier diagnosis would have changed the outcome of treatment. Meaning that they would likely not have experienced the loss had they been diagnosed earlier.

While difficult to prove, there are several ways plaintiffs and their medical malpractice lawyers can show that a missed or delayed diagnosis caused enough harm to win damages in a cancer misdiagnosis case.
Showing Causation
Cancer misdiagnosis claims in Canada must begin with the plaintiff proving causation, which means certain circumstances need to be established, on the balance of probabilities, through examination of legal and medical issues. These circumstances include:

Posted in: Cancer