Category: Birth Injuries

“My doctor says my baby has Erb’s Palsy. What does that mean?”

by John McKiggan

I was asked this question the other day by a new mom. As a medical malpractice lawyer in Halifax, I frequently get calls from parents throughout Atlantic Canada whose babies have suffered a birth injury.

Usually they want to know how the injury happened or if the injury was caused by anything the doctors or nurses did during the mom’s labour and delivery. Sometimes they just want someone to explain the medical terms the doctors have used.

Erb’s palsy and Brachial plexus injuries

Court of Appeal Overturns Award to Brain Injured Baby – Ediger v. Johnston

by John McKiggan

The British Columbia Court of Appeal released its reasons last week in the case of Ediger v. Johnston.

The Facts

Cassidy Ediger suffered an acute and severe hypoxia-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) about 20 minutes before her birth. Her injury was caused by a compression of her umbilical cord which cut off oxygen from the placenta to her brain. The asphyxia caused a deceleration in her fetal heart rate which lasted until Cassidy was delivered by emergency caesarean section.

Birth Injuries More Common During Night Shift

by John McKiggan

My colleague, Ches Crosbie recently posted about an American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology report that studied medical charts for more than two millions births in California over a 14 year period. According to the study children born between the hours of 10 PM and 4 AM were 22% more likely to develop cerebral palsy.

Ches suggested:

Hospitals already have issues with staff shortages and fatigued workers, so it makes sense to me that these problems might be worse during the “graveyard shift”.

Doctors Closer to Detecting Pre-Eclampsia Earlier

by John McKiggan

I am currently investigating a medical malpractice claim where my client suffered catastrophic injuries after developing pre-eclampsia so this story caught my eye.

CTV News has reported that an international team of doctors claim to have discovered 14 telltale metabolites that appear in the blood in early pregnancy that signal an increased risk for pre-eclampsia.

The researchers hope the discovery could one day mean a simple, cheap blood test for the life-threatening condition.

Nurse’s Negligence Caused Child’s Brain Injury

by John McKiggan

Nurse Negligent

In a decision released last week, Justice Tausendfreund has ruled that a nurse at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital was negligent and that the nurse’s negligence caused catastrophic brain injuries to a baby, Danny Vuong.

Danny’s mother, Ms. Giang was admitted to St. Joseph’s Hospital on June 12, 2991. Her pregnancy had been normal and uneventful.

Nurses Have a Duty to Ensure Doctors Meet the Standard of Care

by John McKiggan

Nurses Duty to Ensure Appropriate Care

A recent decision from Ontario has found that nurses have a duty to ensure patients receive appropriate care from a responsible physician when faced with a medical emergency.

The court found that the duty to ensure that the patient is seen by a appropriate physician exists even when the patient has already been seen by a resident physician.

$4.5 Million Award for Child Who Suffered Cerebral Palsy Due to Birth Trauma

by John McKiggan

Court Approves Multi-Million Dollar Settlement

The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia has approved a settlement in a medical malpractice case awarding 4.5 million dollars in compensation to a child who suffered cerebral palsy as a result of injuries suffered during his birth.

Very Complex Claim

Birth Injuries and Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring: New Guidelines Make it Harder to Sue?

by John McKiggan

ACOG Issues New Practice Guidelines

In the July 2009 issue of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) issued practice bulletin No. 106: Intrapartum Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring.

The new bulletin is the most recent statement from the College on interpretation of fetal heart rate tracings and management of labour.

99% Of Potential Medical Malpractice Victims Never File a Claim!

by John McKiggan

Almost 100,000 Medical Mistakes Each Year in Canada

The Canadian Medical Association has determined that over 87,000 patients in Canada suffer an adverse event (medical error or mistake) each year.

The same study determined that more than 24,000 people die each year due to medical errors.

The Consumer’s Guide to Medical Malpractice Claims in Canada

by John McKiggan

Why Did You Write The Book?

I get asked that a lot. There’s a ton of work that goes into writing a book about medical malpractice claims. Most books about the topic are written by lawyers, for lawyers, and they are pretty dry reading.

I wanted to write a book that the average person could pick up and read and come away better educated and informed about the medical malpractice claims process and what is involved in filing a medical malpractice claim.