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Apgar Scores in Birth Cases

Apgar Scores in Birth Cases 2016-11-24T16:14:06+00:00

What are Apgar Scores?

Apgar scores are a test used in the first 15 minutes of life that score how a baby is doing in the immediate newborn period. Apgar scores are taken typically at 1 and 5 minutes for healthy newborns. Healthy newborns will typically have Apgar scores of either nine and nine or eight and 9, very high scores. Apgar scores are scored on a 10 point scoring system and its five categories, and the max score you can get for each category is two. So in theory, the highest score a baby can get in a 1 minute or 5 minute Apgar score is 10. However, because of the transition from intrauterine to extrauterine life, babies will typically have some decrease in what’s called grimace or activity or respiration that will knock them down one point so that they have Apgar scores of nine and nine as opposed to 10 and 10.

The Five Categories

The five categories, in which a baby can receive a maximum of two points, are appearance, meaning the skin color, the pulse, meaning the heart rate, the grimace, meaning the reflex irritability of the baby, activity, meaning the babies muscle tone and respiration, meaning the baby’s breathing rate and effort. A baby who has blue or pale skin will have a zero for skin color. If a baby is born with no heart rate, that will result in a zero score. A baby who has no response to stimulation, meaning tickling the feet or trying to move the baby’s arm, will have zero for grimace. If the baby’s born floppy, that means that there’s no activity and there will be a zero for activity, and if the baby’s born not breathing, there will be a zero respiration. Babies, who are born asphyxiated, meaning they suffer hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy in the 30 to 60 minutes before birth, will have reduced Apgar scores.

Apgar scores are a subjective test, meaning that it’s in the eye of the medical providers and sometimes there can be variation in Apgar scores but many times children born severely asphyxiated will have Apgar scores of zero and two, or one and three, very depressed Apgar scores which are an indicator of how poorly a baby is doing at birth. For babies who are sick at birth, Apgar scores are sometimes taken at 10 minutes, 15 minutes and even 20 minutes to show any improvement in the baby.

A Recent Case

So for example, in a case this firm litigated recently, a baby was born with Apgar scores of zero at 1 minute, one at 5 minutes, two at 10 minutes, two at 15 minutes and two at 20 minutes, and the two score at 20 minutes was obviously indicative of a baby who was not responding well to any resuscitation that took place after birth. The child with Apgar scores of zero, one, two, two and two, had suffered a complication, or his mother had suffered a complication, known as a uterine rupture meaning that the uterus burst and the placenta tore off the uterine wall, and when that happens, there is a complete cessation, a complete stoppage, a complete blockage of blood flow and oxygen to the baby, and if the baby’s left in that environment for a prolonged period of time, there will be decreased oxygenation and a likelihood of hypoxic ischemic brain injury.

In the example that I gave with zero, one, two, two and two, that child had suffered what is known as a acute profound brain injury and what had happened was the child had experienced injury to the deep gray structures of his brain including the basal ganglia infalmous. That child was transferred to a higher level of care shortly after birth for total body cooling.

Unfortunately, because of the severity of the lack of oxygen, the total body cooling did not make any appreciable difference in that case and that child was afflicted with a severe form of cerebral palsy that he will have to live with for the rest of his life. As a result of the serious damages suffered, this baby will require very extensive care at tremendous cost to the family. The lawsuit that will follow in a case like this is really all that stands between this loving family and financial ruin.

Listen to information on Apgar Scores in Birth Cases below:

Record Results

$55 Million - Birth Injury
Largest Malpractice Verdict in MD.

$33.5M - Birth Injury
Largest Malpractice Verdict in TN.

$15.5M- Birth Injury
Largest Malpractice Verdict MN.

$21M- Birth Injury
Verdict Maryland.

$15.6M Cerebral Palsy
Verdict Maryland.

$14M- Medical Malpractice
Verdict Maryland.

$9.2M- Birth Injury/CP
Largest Verdict in MN.
(Before we set record above)

$7M- Failure to Diagnose
Verdict Minnesota.

$5.3M- Failure to Diagnose Cancer
Verdict Washington D.C.

$5M- Cerebral Palsy/Birth Injury
Verdict Iowa.

$5M - Cebral Plasy/Birth Injury
Verdict Illinois.

$5M - Birth Injury
Verdict North Carolina

$4.5M - Birth/Brain Injury
Verdict Pennsylvania.

(Show more results)


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Gary A. Wais, Sr. Partner

Gary is the senior managing partner. Practicing for 30 years, he has dedicated his career to championing the needs of the most seriously injured victims of malpractice. Focusing specifically on birth injury cases, Gary continues to obtain record setting verdicts and settlements in Maryland and Nationwide.

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Kenneth Vogelstein, Sr. Partner

Kenny is a senior partner and a physician. His medical knowledge has proven invaluable in his 25 year practice. Kenny focuses on birth trauma, cerebral palsy and catastrophic malpractice injuries. He has recovered millions in verdicts and settlements on behalf of his seriously injured clients.

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Keith D. Forman, Partner

Keith, a partner, was member of the team that obtained 3 of the 4 largest verdicts in Medical Malpractice history in Maryland, including a $55M verdict and a $21M verdict respectively against two hospitals. A keen and tenacious advocate for his clients, he was invited to join the prestigious Million Dollar Advocates Forum.

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Stephen C. Offutt, Partner

Stephen is one of the Nation's preeminent and seasoned Medical Malpractice trial lawyers. With an extensive record of multi-million dollar verdicts, in 2014 the National Trial Lawyers Association named him one of the Best Trial Lawyers in America following a birth injury verdict for $33.4M. Stephen fights aggressively for seriously injured children nation wide.

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Mary Koch, Partner

Mary will stand & deliver Big for Justice. From her early days as a Federal Prosecutor to large corporate wrong doers, her multi-million verdicts are prolific. Mary won a 34.3M verdict against corporate wrongdoing, one of the Nation's largest in 2010. Mary is tenacious crusader for the rights of injured victims and will fight relentlessly for Justice

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"A seriously unbelievable malpractice team. It truly is high-stakes litigation and this is the malpractice dream team you want. They have the knowledge, resources and tenacity to obtain successful results over the long haul and they are clearly not afraid of anybody. Because of their work, our familie's very existence is made possible."
– D.L.

"Reading this firm's lengthly list of verdicts and settlements in medical malpractice and birth injury is what convinced us. We took a lot of time to select the right law firm for our disabled child with serious life time disability and we are glad we did. Our son will have millions in life time needs because of the hospital care and they did not want to listen to us. They can hear us loud and clear now."

– A.J.

"There are no words to begin to explain how grateful we are for what your team has done for our family. I cannot begin to imagine how we would have survived following the negligent care. Your positive encouragement and support was a beacon of light throughout this difficult process. Hearing that eight figure verdict read in court was the sweetest thing I have ever heard. Thank you and Bless you. "

– W.R.

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