The birth of a child is supposed to be a joyous occasion, but unfortunately this is not always the case. Complications can arise that lead to injury or death for the mother or baby.

Such was the case with Antoinette Pratsinakis when she gave birth to her five-year-old daughter, Lucy. Antoinette suffered a stroke four days after the delivery, which left her with slight vision problems, limited use of her left arm and a limp. She spent 10 weeks in the intensive care unit and an impatient rehabilitation facility, relearning to walk – when she expected to be home spending time with her newborn.

Colley Shroyer Abraham represented the Pratsinakis family and was interviewed by the Akron Beacon Journal in their reporting on maternal mortality and morbidity in Ohio. The firm has represented many other Ohio families related to medical complications from labor and delivery.

Birth complications more common

The article noted that a USA Today investigation found that more than 50,000 women and families nationwide have a birth experience that leaves the mother with severe medical problems. This makes the U.S. the most dangerous developed country in the world to give birth.

While the reasons are complex – such as the rise in obesity, the cesarean rate and the mother’s age – birth complications can often be the result of medical errors and physician negligence. In 2014, the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM) began to send hospitals “bundles,” which offered instructions and activities for improving maternal care. These bundles often addressed a possible complication and offered advice to hospitals on what should be readily available during labor. This helped lower the severe maternal morbidity rate, but the U.S. still has a long way to go.