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Medical Malpractice

Birth injuries affect infant, mother

You’ve often heard the standard line from some mothers who declare that going through childbirth is such a wonderful experience. We don’t doubt that for some, but it’s really not the case for every mother and every child born in a hospital delivery room, birth center or even home.

There are plenty of risks in childbirth, and it can turn painful, dangerous and life-threatening for both the mother and child. The causes may be from a difficult and prolonged labor and delivery to abnormal fetal position such as a breech baby. But there are many.

Mothers may experience an assortment of injuries or conditions that include excessive bleeding, severe tears, pelvic fractures and urinary incontinence. The infant, of course, also may be subjected to an assortment of trauma as well.

Common birth injuries among infants

Here’s a list of some of the more common birth injuries that may happen to an infant:

  • Brain injuries may occur due to oxygen deprivation leading to cerebral palsy or chronic seizures.
  • Scalp lacerations and swelling of the soft tissue of infant’s scalp may occur due to improper usage of a vacuum extraction tool when removing the infant from the birth canal.
  • Brachial palsy injuries such as Erb’s palsy and Klumpke’s palsy happen when the nerves responsible for moving the arms and hands are injured.
  • Facial paralysis may occur due to improper use of a forceps or vacuum extraction tool in removing the infant. This may lead to Bell’s palsy.
  • Broken bones may occur, and collar bone fractures are among the more common. This may happen if the physician pulls too hard on the infant while in the breech position.
  • Bleeding may occur when the blood vessels in the infant’s eyes break. Known as subconjunctival hemorrhages, this injury doesn’t cause permanent eye damage.

An ideal childbirth is a smooth one without complications, but every childbirth is different. Let’s hope for safe ones.


Divorce And Family Law

Retirement funds require precision in divorce

Retirement accounts are often the single largest asset held by New York couples who decide to divorce, and this can mean that dividing them is a complex and emotionally tense issue. Divorce lawyers agree; 62 percent of those who replied to a 2016 survey said that retirement accounts were the most contentious issue their clients faced. As these funds are key to the financial security of both partners, dealing with them appropriately in divorce is critically important.

The complications of handling retirement funds in divorce are not limited to securing an equitable property division settlement; on the contrary, there are many financial and legal regulations that govern the use of different types of retirement funds. These regulations must be followed in order to protect these important assets as improper distribution can be very costly to both parties in terms of taxes, penalties and fees.

A qualified domestic relations order or QDRO must be obtained from the divorce court to carry out the agreed-upon distribution of a retirement fund. While the QDRO should reflect the divorce settlement, this type of order is not automatically issued along with the divorce decree and must be requested. A QDRO is necessary whether the fund is a traditional defined benefit pension or a 401(k) account, and each retirement fund that needs to be distributed also requires a separate QDRO. The order should specify whether the distribution will be made to cash or rolled over into another retirement account.

The divorce and family law attorney who represented one spouse during the divorce may also be able to draft the QDRO and present it to the court for approval. The attorney might work with the administrators of the retirement plan to ensure that the funds are distributed accurately and in line with the agreement reached as part of the property division settlement.

Divorce And Family Law

Planning for divorce is a form of insurance.

Most couples in the White Plains, New York area are not considering divorce while they are planning their wedding. But many financial advisors will tell those planning on a marriage together to plan for the possibility of divorce and look to protect their personal assets.

Some are turned off at the concept of divorce planning, but others see such planning as an unfortunate but necessary form of protection. It can be a form of insurance, one hopes it is never necessary, but it can prevent financial catastrophe if the worst comes to bear.

One way to plan for certain contingencies is the prenuptial or post-nuptial agreement. Both are agreements that separate property if the parties divorce or otherwise separate. As the names imply, a prenuptial is executed before marriage. A postnuptial agreement is executed during the marriage.

There are certainly other reasons for financial considerations prior to taking marital vows. A couple may choose not to commingle income and property received by inheritance or family gift. If one party is a spendthrift or has financial troubles, the other may seek to shield his or her assets from the spouse’s creditors. An illness to one spouse can have a serious effect on the spouse’s finances, and the spouse may plan to protect his or her own assets.

Hiring an experienced attorney is a beneficial step in planning for divorce. In any of these types of planning, state laws will have a great effect on the path chosen. Prenuptial and post-nuptial agreements are governed by state law. If the agreement is inconsistent with state law, the agreement can be nullified and unenforceable. If nullified, the assets of the marriage, including premarital assets and assets received by inheritance will be divided by state law. To minimize the risk of this happening, it may be wise to hire an experienced family law attorney.

Medical Malpractice

A rise in birth defects due to Zika leaves parents scrambling

On a Friday night in the ER, an overworked doctor listens to your symptoms; fatigue, skin rash and body aches. “Sounds like you have got the flu,” the doctor comments and quickly scribbles a signature on a prescription pad. You are instructed to go home, get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. Fast forward nine months and you once again find yourself in the ER, this time you are welcoming your first child. In all of the excitement, you count ten fingers and ten toes and are content to think your baby is perfect. However, the worried look on the doctor’s face suddenly changes everything, “Have you ever heard of microcephaly?” he asks gently.

How could this happen?

The reality is that trip to the emergency room before the pregnancy was not due to a cold. In fact, it was due to the Zika virus. Unfortunately, this situation often results in a typical misdiagnosis by doctors, as the Zika virus presents flu-like symptoms. A recent study released by the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found a spike in Zika-related birth defects in the United States. Forty-nine percent of the babies born to a mother who had the Zika virus suffered microcephaly, a condition in which the brain and head are underdeveloped.

The doctors did not catch it

What the report showed is in many cases most of the mothers who had babies with birth defects linked to the Zika virus never got tested for the virus or were not tested at the right time. Mothers were essentially unaware they were carrying the disease. When doctors misdiagnose or fail to diagnose medical conditions the results are life-changing.

Medical malpractice stems from instances where an error in a doctor’s diagnosis leads to improper, delayed or no treatment whatsoever. In the most unfortunate of cases, the outcome of a doctor’s negligence can be deadly.

Personal Injury

Report highlights role of governors in U.S. road safety

In New York and across the U.S., inadequate road safety has led to a rise in car accident injuries and fatalities. In 2016, for instance, 39 states reported an increase in the number of traffic fatalities from 2015. Nationwide, it came out to a 5.6 percent increase over the previous year. More than 37,000 drivers died in 2016.

Because road safety in the U.S. are sorely lacking in comparison with those of other developed countries, the National Governors Association has issued a report detailing the kind of strategies that state governors can take to combat the problem. It emphasizes the unique role that governors can play, for example in their ability to provide leadership for highway safety projects.

They could also work together with their state’s highway safety offices and foster communication among other agencies. This way, they could improve existing safety guidelines and identify any new strategies they could implement to reduce traffic fatalities. The goal with every governor should be to reduce fatalities to zero. The program laid out in the NGA report has the support of the Governors Highway Safety Association, an agency that also assisted in its development. The report comes with policy development tools, which every state can use all or some of according to its present needs.

With so many injuries and deaths on America’s roads, insurance companies do everything they can to find holes in auto accident claims and refuse to settle. This is why anyone injured through another driver’s negligence should consult with a lawyer who can assess the claim, bring together proof with the help of investigators, and handle all negotiations so that appropriate compensation can be received.