Birth Injuries

Gardiner Koch Weisberg & Wrona is a dynamic law firm, uniquely qualified to represent the families of newborns and stillborns who have sustained death or injury as a result of hospital or physician error. We can assist you regarding: birth injuries, birth complications, brain injuries, stillbirth, child injuries, death, complications due to oxygen deprivation or anoxia, cerebral palsy, paraplegia, spasticity, hearing problems, improperly prescribed medications, retardation, blindness and developmental delay. Among our results is the settlement of the largest still birth in the history of Cook County at the time of the settlement. We were also involved in one of the largest settlements for a one year old whose necessary medication was withdrawn by the treating physician resulting in permanent brain injury and profound mental issues.


A stillbirth occurs when a fetus which has died in the womb or during labor or delivery exits its mother’s body. A stillbirth can result from the failure to recognize fetal distress or oxygen deprivation. It can also result from the failure of a physician to recognize risk factors and perform a timely Caesarian section.

Brain Injuries
Brain injuries occur when the baby does not get enough oxygen. Physicians should be aware of oxygen deprivation because they oximeters provide this information to them during predelivery patient care. Oxygen deprivation can happen if the baby loses a lot of blood, or the umbilical cord gets twisted or compressed. Prolonged oxygen deprivation can cause brain damage and a number of neurological disorders, including cerebral palsy, epilepsy, and autism.

Umbilical Cord Complications and Fetal Distress
An umbilical prolapse is an umbilical cord complication that occurs before delivery. This is when the umbilical cord slips through the cervix into the birth canal (ahead of the baby) or out of the vagina. This can endanger the baby if the umbilical cord gets blocked and stops blood flow through the cord.

When the umbilical cord gets wrapped around the baby’s body (often the neck) and affects the baby during delivery, it is called an umbilical cord compression. Compression can also occur if the cord is between the baby’s head and the mother’s pelvic bone before or during delivery. When the cord is compressed in this way, it leads to a decrease in the flow of blood and oxygen to the baby. Birth injuries connected to umbilical cord complications occur when there is a failure to observe or respond properly to symptoms of fetal distress and incorrect umbilical positioning.

Fetal distress is also caused by umbilical cord complications before or during delivery which deprive the baby of sufficient oxygen.

Caesarean Birth Injuries
Caesarean birth — also known as a C-section — is the birth of a baby through an incision in the mother’s abdomen. Babies born by C-section are more likely to develop a breathing problem marked by abnormally fast breathing during the first few days after birth (transient tachypnea). Although rare, accidental nicks to the baby’s skin can occur during surgery. Wounds to the skin accounts for more than half of the injuries. The next most common injury was severe bruising of the head, followed by broken collarbone, facial nerve damage, injury to the chest-arm nerve network, and skull fracture. Fetal injury can also occur following an attempt to deliver through the birth canal using forceps or vacuum.

Cerebral Palsy
Cerebral palsy is a medical condition caused by a permanent brain injury that occurs before, during, or shortly after birth. The primary characteristic of cerebral palsy is a lack of muscle control and movement. Cerebral palsy is not a progressive disease, however, the effects have been known to change over time. Although the cause of cerebral palsy is not known for certain, there is evidence that links it to both the health history of the mother and child, and accidents causing brain damage. The diagnosis of cerebral palsy is often made immediately after birth, but it can also be made later in childhood.

Mental Retardation
Mental Retardation can develop if there is lack of oxygen to the brain before, during, or after birth. A physician’s failure to respond appropriately to danger signs may lead to this condition.

Brachial Plexus Injuries
The brachial plexus is a network of nerves that conducts signals from the spine to the shoulder, arm, and hand. Brachial plexus injuries are caused by damage to those nerves. Although injuries can occur at any time, many brachial plexus injuries happen when a baby’s shoulders become impacted during delivery and the brachial plexus nerves stretch or tear. Improper delivery procedures can cause these injuries. Symptoms of brachial plexus injury may include a limp or paralyzed arm; lack of muscle control in the arm, hand, or wrist; and lack of feeling or sensation in the arm or hand. If the symptoms include bruising or swelling, the situation may correct itself in several months. If there is major nerve damage, corrective surgery may be required and permanent damage often occurs.