Pegalis & Erickson
The blog of PEGALIS & ERICKSON, LLC: a medical malpractice law firm in Long Island representing those suffering from injuries caused by medical errors. Contact us for a free legal consultation today.

Maternal Death: A Look at a Preventable Tragedy

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 600 women die each year because of complications during pregnancy and delivery, and approximately half of those deaths are preventable. Factors such as unhealthy lifestyle choices and medical malpractice during prenatal care or during delivery can all put a mother’s life at risk. There are several steps that can reduce the tragedy of maternal death:

Healthier Lifestyle
During pregnancy, women should work closely with their providers to stay as healthy as possible. Smoking and drinking during pregnancy not only endangers the health of the baby but also puts the mother at greater risk for complications. Mothers should also see their doctors regularly, manage their pregnancy weight gain, and follow all recommendations of their doctors for bed rest and diet. Because having a healthy lifestyle before pregnancy can reduce the risks of pregnancy complications and maternal mortality, women should make efforts to maintain a healthy weight, manage chronic medical conditions, and quit smoking.

Improved Prenatal Care
Poor prenatal care contributes to maternal death in a number of ways. In some cases, women may not have access to the maternal care they need, which means that dangerous conditions like preeclampsia (high blood pressure) and gestational diabetes can occur unchecked. In other instances, medical mistakes in prenatal care can lead to complications that put a mother’s life in danger. And, medical mistakes can lead to complications that put the unborn child’s life in danger

Changes in the Delivery Room
Errors in the delivery room can also lead to maternal death as well as many types of birth injuries. Mistakes in monitoring, failure to act quickly to address complications, such as bleeding, improper use of anesthesia, and failure to respond to infections are all examples of medical malpractice that could result in maternal fatalities.

If you have been touched by the tragedy of a maternal death and believe that a medical error could be the cause, contact Pegalis & Erickson, LLC to speak to a medical malpractice attorney in Long Island, New York. Our experienced attorneys can evaluate the situation and help you decide what next steps to take. Contact us today at (516) 858-2194 to get started.

Understanding Fetal Distress

Fetal distress occurs when the fetus is deprived of oxygen during labor. Typically, the doctor can determine if the fetus is in distress by monitoring the heartbeat, but when it is not discovered, it can lead to serious birth injuries. If your doctor fails to diagnose fetal distress or takes actions that cause fetal distress, and your child was seriously injured, you should investigate whether medical negligence was involved.

Fetal distress usually occurs as the result of a past term pregnancy or because of labor complications. It can be treated by delivering oxygen to the mother, increasing intravenous fluids, or turning the woman on her side. If the distress does not resolve, a cesarean delivery may be required.

If fetal distress occurred during your delivery and now your baby is suffering as a result, contact Pegalis & Erickson, LLC for a review of your case to see if medical malpractice could be to blame. Our medical malpractice attorneys have a track record of winning compensatory settlements for families who are facing the repercussions of birth injuries on Long Island . Talk to an attorney today by calling (516) 858-2194.

Choosing and Using Durable Medical Equipment for Kids with Cerebral Palsy

After a birth trauma that results in cerebral palsy, parents face many choices in helping their children overcome obstacles caused by their disabilities. Medical equipment can help children with cerebral palsy in a number of different ways, including with mobility issues. In cases in which medical malpractice leads to a birth injury, your cerebral palsy lawyer can seek compensation for the future costs associated with this kind of medical equipment. Here are some of things parents of kids with cerebral palsy should consider when choosing and using medical equipment.

Choosing Equipment
Your child’s doctor and/or a physical therapist will play a central role in working with you to select the right medical equipment for your child. Often, the doctor will refer you to a representative for a provider for a piece of equipment that may benefit your child, and that representative will evaluate your child’s case and make a recommendation based on your child’s specific needs. Some of the things that should be considered when choosing equipment for your child are expectations for growth and function, your child’s need for body and head support, his or her history of pressure sores, and whether manual or powered equipment is best. Your budget and preferences are also considerations that will help to shape the final decision.

Using Equipment
When your child gets new medical equipment, it is helpful to attend any training sessions provided by the company or recommended by the doctor, or a therapist. Know who to call when you have questions, and alert your doctor if you are not getting the expected functionality out of any equipment you choose. Adaptions may be necessary to meet the particular needs of your child.

Birth injuries are life altering for a child and also a family, but Pegalis & Erickson, LLC is here to help you get the assistance and compensation you deserve for your child, and to help you take care of your child’s special needs. Talk to a birth injury lawyer in Long Island today by calling (516) 858-2194.

Reducing Your Infant's Risk of SIDS

Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is feared by parents everywhere. Medical experts still aren’t sure exactly what causes SIDS. It is thought that infants who die of SIDS had an immature arousal center in the brain that failed to wake them up upon having difficulty breathing. Unfortunately, SIDS can occur even when parents take precautions to prevent it. It’s important to understand the risks of SIDS and to do everything possible to reduce your infant’s risk.

Know the Risks
Medical experts recommend that parents be cautious about SIDS until their children turn one year of age. However, the peak time for SIDS deaths is between two and four months. It appears that male infants, African-Americans, Native Americans, low-birthweight babies, and preemies are at the highest risk of SIDS, as are infants who are exposed to cigarette smoke prenatally or postnatally.

Avoid Co-Sleeping
Co-sleeping refers to the practice of putting a baby to sleep in the parents’ bed. While some people believe this promotes a closer bond between parent and child, co-sleeping is very dangerous because infants can easily suffocate. Instead, parents can place infants to sleep in their own bedroom, but only in a bassinette. When the infant is older, he or she can then be moved to a crib in the nursery.

Use the Right Position
It’s vitally important to only put your infant to sleep on his or her back. Sleeping on the stomach or side can prevent infants from getting enough oxygen. Back sleeping is crucial even for short naps. To prevent flattening of the head, do supervised tummy time with your baby every day.

Clear the Crib
It can be tempting to adorn an infant’s crib with crib bumpers, beautiful quilts, and soft stuffed animals. But the only thing that should be in a crib is the baby. Any object placed into the crib could pose a risk to the baby during sleep.

Teaching Your Kids About the Importance of Handwashing

Handwashing is a significant issue in medical malpractice cases. If your case involves an infection, one of the first things a medical malpractice lawyer will ask you is if you saw your doctor wash his or her hands. However, handwashing doesn’t just matter in the medical setting. Washing your hands routinely daily is one of the most effective ways you can prevent the spread of infection. It’s even more important to teach your kids the importance of handwashing, especially at school, where germs run rampant. December 4-10 is Handwashing Awareness Week—the perfect time to focus on teaching your kids the importance of washing their hands. This information will help you get the point across.

Teach the 4 Principles of Hand Awareness
The 4 Principles of Hand Awareness has been accepted by the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Family Physicians as the gold standard for keeping hands clean. By teaching these principles to your kids, you will equip them with everything they need to keep their hands germ-free. The first principle is to wash hands any time they are dirty and before eating. The second principle is to never cough into your hands, and the third principle is to never sneeze into your hands. The fourth principle is to avoid putting fingers in the nose, eyes, or mouth. Following these rules will reduce your kids’ chances of picking up a communicable infection that could be avoided.

Lead by Example
Your kids learn their handwashing behavior from you. Be a model of good habits by following the 4 Principles of Hand Awareness yourself. Cough and sneeze into your elbow and always wash your hands before preparing food and before eating. When washing your hands is a habit for you, your kids are sure to pick up on it.

At Pegalis & Erickson, we’re here to help when a medical mistake, like failing to wash hands, leads to a serious health problem. When you need a medical malpractice attorney on Long Island for birth trauma, medical negligence, or another medical injury, please call (516) 858-2194.
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