How to detect and prevent the most common birth injuries

In the United States, one in every 9,714 babies is born with a birth injury. That means there are three newborns an hour entering the world already suffering. We know that these injuries stress parents enough; they do not need to be stressed by the costs to care for their injured baby additionally. It’s always important to be informed. Here we take a shutterstock_124023355look at the five most common birth injuries.

The brachial plexus is a set of nerves that controls the muscles of the arm. When these nerves are damaged, some or all of your child’s arm muscles may no longer work. This happens commonly during complex births. To amend this error, children need to participate in physical and occupational therapy or even surgery if the damage does not correct itself over time. Brachial plexus palsy often can be prevented by more careful maneuvering of the infant by physicians. Additionally, if it’s predicted that the baby will have a difficult delivery the mother should plan for a C-Section to help prevent brachial plexus.

Bone fracture; the name of this injury is self-explanatory, however, what many people don’t know is that this extremely common birth injury can be easily prevented. In assisted delivery, misuse of forceps and vacuum extractors are common ways this injury can occur. Physicians must ensure that they are placed properly on the baby’s head, otherwise it can cause damage to their fragile skulls.

Cephalohematoma is caused by damaged blood vessels and is defined by a collection of blood under the tissue that envelops the skull. Blood vessel damage often happens to infants during childbirth due to misuse of forceps; however, it can also occur due to the pressure of the vaginal canal on the infant’s head if the mother’s pelvic area is smaller than the baby’s head.

Caput succedaneum refers to swelling of an infant’s scalp, which appears as a lump or bump on the head shortly after delivery. Bruising, abnormal coloring, and an increase in the molding of head bones can also accompany the swelling. The most common root of this damage is from there being too much pressure on the head of a baby in the vaginal canal. It is very common in a long or hard delivery, because there is not enough amniotic fluid due to absence of the amniotic sac used to provide a cushion for the baby’s head over a prolonged time period. Your doctor should be aware of this and be prepared to utilize alternative ways to remove your child that will not hurt them.

Perinatal asphyxia results from an insufficient amount of oxygen intake for a baby before, during, or just after birth. The decreased oxygen intake can result in low levels of oxygen in the child’s blood, as well as too much acid in the blood. This causes them to have the symptoms of abnormal fetal heart rate, low pH levels, poor skin color at birth, low heart rate, weak muscle tone, and gasping or weak breathing. The key to preventing this damage is identifying the issue before it’s a problem. If this is a potential problem the mother can be given extra amounts of oxygen before delivery.

Birth injury or birth trauma claims are extremely complex to investigate and pursue in court. If your child has suffered a birth injury, your family needs an attorney well experienced in investigating and litigating these types of highly specialized cases. Our Philadelphia birth injury lawyers will investigate your case, determine if you have a claim, and guide you through the process of securing the support you need for your injured child. Call us today (610-729-2900) or schedule a free online consultation.

Commercial train and bus accidents and disasters are horrific, to say the least.

A horrid tour bus crash in Pisa, Italy left many dead and injured. The collision occurred when a truck traveling on the opposite side of the road lost control and crossed into opposing traffic, hitting the bus head on. The attorneys at Villari, Brandes & Giannone stepped up to represent the families of the four people who were killed, and to represent the twelve people who were seriously injured in the crash, all of whom were from the United States. While the Italian legal system was foreign to us, we gained a good understanding of it and its ability to provide for our clients because we took the extra step of retaining local counsel in Italy.

Our work began with an extensive investigation. The first person we turned to in the investigation was, of course, the driver who caused the crash. He was responsible for driving the truck into the wrong lane of traffic. He claimed to have done so because his tire blew out and caused him to veer into oncoming traffic. We knew that the particular tire in question had been known to cause problems, leading to product liability actions against the manufacturer. We hired appropriate experts in vehicle tire design, maintenance and failures, and ultimately learned that the tire blew out as a result of the collision and not due to any defect. After resolving that issue, attention was directed to the conduct of the bus driver, which was determined to be very reasonable in the face of the sudden emergency confronting him. Ultimately, the entire fault for this transportation disaster lay at the hands of the truck driver and his employer. Our firm quickly began negotiations with the defendants’ insurance carrier. Notwithstanding the significant limitations on the recovery of money damages under Italian law, our firm secured settlements for all of the victims of the disaster for several million dollars in all.

If you or a loved one were involved in a train or bus crash disaster anywhere in the U.S. or even in another country, call us today.  We have the knowledge and experience to get you justice and the compensation you deserve.  WE ARE ALREADY PROSECUTING LITIGATION AGAINST AMTRAK ON BEHALF OF VICTIMS OF THE PHILADELPHIA AMTRAK TRAIN ACCIDENT / DISASTER.  Please call us today if you or a loved one was on that train.

Planning a Cruise? Make Sure You’re Informed about Potential Illness Outbreaks & How to Be Prepared

This time of year many families are planning family vacations, many of which include ocean or riverboat cruises. Although not widely talked about, passengers on these ships or boats are all too often plagued by outbreaks of severe illnesses. Most recently, another outbreak afflicted a Celebrity Infinity cruise ship.

The Celebrity Infinity cruise ship departed on March 29th from San Diego and returned, with its final stop in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on April 13th. A severely debilitating gastrointestinal illness was reported to have affected 106 of the ship’s passengers, and six crew members. Upon the arrival of the ship, on April 13th, an environmental health officer from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control boarded the vessel to conduct an environmental health assessment and to evaluate the outbreak and response activities.

The CDC determined that the causative agent for the outbreak was Norovirus. Another outbreak was just reported by the CDC on a Royal Caribbean’s Legend of the Seas San Diego-bound ship. One hundred fourteen passengers and two crew members were reported ill with vomiting and diarrhea. The cause of that outbreak is unknown.

The effects of Norovirus are mainly infection of the stomach and intestines, and therefore it often causes severe gastroenteritis, with associated fever, vomiting and diarrhea. The risk of resulting dehydration and its consequences is high, thus posing a very serious health concern for babies, young children and the elderly, and those suffering underlying medical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart ailments, colitis and the like. The consequences are all the more worrisome when the ship is at sea and far from land-based emergency medical care.

Norovirus is closely associated with cruise ships, mainly because it spreads quickly and widely among people in small areas (such as the close confines of a cruise ship’s guest rooms, dining areas, casinos and recreation areas). There are more than 20 million cases of Norovirus reported each year. When on cruise ships, the virus is typically spread through physical contact with ill people or infected areas they may have touched – such as hand rails, door knobs, food buffet utensils, playing cards, poker chips, etc.

The best way to take precaution to prevent Norovirus or similar infectious illnesses is to wash your hands often, with warm water and soap. The CDC specifies to wash hands before and after eating and smoking, after using the restroom, and whenever you feel your hands are dirty. Limit physical contact if you can, and do not share drinking glasses and eating utensils. Avoid uncooked food as much as possible. As an extra precaution, pack soap or hand sanitizer and a spray disinfectant for surfaces, utensils and drinking glasses in your guest room and hand-held objects in your room – like the TV remote control.

Ultimately, if you or a loved one become ill on a cruise, please call us for assistance in recovering your out of pocket expenses for medical bills, your damages for having your vacation cancelled or cut short, and for any injuries or disability you may have suffered.


Eye Injury Prevention and Safety

eye safetyApril is home to two different Eye Injury Awareness Months – Sports Eye Safety Awareness Month and Women’s Eye Health and Safety Month. So with that in mind we’ve put together this piece about Eye Injury Prevention and Safety to help increase awareness…

Typically, eye injuries are caused when an object or foreign material hits or makes contact with the eye. Injury can also occur with increased pressure in the eye (glaucoma) that goes undiagnosed or untreated. These injuries can be simple and easily treated without permanent damage, or they can be devastating – resulting in partial or total blindness or, even worse, loss of one or both eyes.  With that being said, the legal experts at Villari, Brandes & Giannone understand that an eye injury can occur anywhere,  at any time.

In order to prevent personal injury to the eyes, the lawyers at Villari, Brandes & Giannone have compiled a list of safety tips to help prevent eye injuries.

  • Protective gear, such as goggles, safety glasses, face shield, or another type of certified eye coverage should be worn at all times when completing a construction task, at home or at work, as well as if you are cleaning with chemicals or participating in a sport. In the event something becomes embedded or stuck in your eye, do not remove it to prevent further damage. In any case, seek medical help as soon as possible.
  • If you are working with toxic chemicals at work, eye washing stations should be available on-site and used in the event that the chemicals come in contact with your eyes. If you are home and your eyes are exposed to chemicals, flood your eyes with cool, clean water for 15-20 minutes and seek medical attention.
  • Always wear sunglasses when outside. Too much exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays can put you at a higher risk of getting cataracts or macular degeneration, as well as melanoma (cancer) of the eye.
  • It is very important to see your eye doctor for regular checkups, including to check the pressure in each eye via a totally painless two second test. If pressure in your eye goes up (such as with narrow angle glaucoma) and is not timely diagnosed and treated, you can permanently lose vision in that eye.  These types of conditions can also be hereditary.  So it is also important to know if there is any history of increased eye pressure or glaucoma in your family.  If so, let your doctor know right away.
  • Your eyes can also be injured due to strain. If you need eyeglasses, be sure to wear them. Visit your eye doctor regularly to keep up with your prescription glasses or contacts.
  • If you spend your work days in front of a screen, it’s important to take breaks. Staring too long at a computer or television can cause eyestrain, as well as blurred vision, headaches, or dry eyes. To avoid such problems, position your computer so you are looking slightly down at the screen and rest your eyes every 20 minutes or so, taking a longer break at least every 2 hours.

Construction workers are most at-risk for eye injuries, as they are exposed to these types of hazards on a daily basis. These injuries are most often caused by materials such as shards of wood, glass, metal, or other types of debris, or toxic chemicals used on a construction site.

Eye injuries can also occur from accidents that happen in the office or at home from things like DIY renovations to your home or car, cooking or cleaning accidents, injuries sustained while playing a sport or game, and general yard work. For this reason, eye safety is of the utmost importance when participating in these types of tasks.

If you are injured on the job, you may be entitled to compensation. Contractors, construction companies, and even building owners may be held responsible for ensuring safety on and around job sites, per OSHA safety regulations and requirements.

If you have suffered from a serious eye injury, contact the lawyers at Villari, Brandes & Giannone. Our team of Philadelphia injury lawyers have represented thousands of clients in claims and lawsuits in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Washington, D.C. and many other states around the country.  We are dedicated to fighting for injured people, making sure they receive the compensation they deserve. Call now or schedule a free online consultation.

Do You Suspect Nursing Home Negligence or Abuse?

Nursing Home Abuse

People typically assume that when they move their aging parent into a nursing home that they will be treated in a well-cared for manner. Sure, we’ve heard about “issues” in nursing homes.  It’s easy to chalk those up to unintentional accidents or just the normal problems that come with aging.

The reality is that elderly abuse exists, and it is not uncommon. In fact, there are cases of elder abuse in one in three nursing homes. Elder abuse is happening right now, in our country, to our family members. If you or someone you know has a loved one in a nursing home right now, it‘s important to know the signs and to know your rights.

Sometimes, signs of abuse and neglect are obvious and other times they are not.  Some signs of abuse can often be subtle and difficult to see. These include insufficient food and water, insufficient bathing, failure to properly assist a resident or the abuse can be verbal.

Did you know that in 1987 Congress passed the Nursing Home Reform Act? As a result, any nursing home or long-term care facility receiving federal funds must comply with very specific laws and regulations detailing the type and quality of care that residents in these facilities must receive.

Death, serious bodily injury and significant pain and suffering may happen for a variety of reasons, including medical negligence. Know the signs and know what to do so you can protect your loved ones.

What are the Types of Nursing Home Neglect and How Do You Recognize It?

Emotional abuse happens in nursing homes. Emotional abuse is making a person feel fear, anguish, anxiety or despair. Though the effects of this may be harder to identify, it’s good to make sure that you ask your family member how they are being treated. One more way to help your loved ones is to consciously take note if any staff block or prevent you from being alone with family members.

A common type of abuse in nursing homes is physical abuse. Physical abuse can include, but is not limited to, kicking, punching or causing physical harm to another person. Some warning signs of physical abuse include unexplained bumps, bruises or abrasions (small cuts).

Loved ones in nursing homes are also at risk for becoming victims of financial abuse. We always recommend keeping an eye on your loved ones’ accounts and bills. It’s not uncommon for residents to lose valuables and cash that they keep with them.  A good practice is to keep valuables in a different location for safe keeping.

What Should You Do If You Suspect a Loved is Being Abused?

While there are many wonderful group home facilities and nursing homes that lovingly care for their residents, you must always be alert to signs of abuse and neglect.

If you believe that your elderly loved one has experienced abuse in a nursing home, please contact us online as soon as you can or call us toll-free at 1-888-729-2901. Don’t allow yourself or a loved one to continue to suffer neglect or abuse.

The Law Firm of Villari, Brandes & Giannone has extensive legal experience representing nursing home residents/patients and their families in cases against nursing homes and long-term care facilities. If you or a loved one has been neglected or abused in a nursing home or long-term care facility, there is something you can do.

Call our law firm today at 1-888-729-2901 for a free consultation!

The Law Firm of Villari, Brandes & Giannone will help you or your loved one get justice and proper compensation for injuries and damages suffered.

Tractor-Trailer and Truck Wrecks: Why They Happen and How to Avoid Them

Do you and your family tend to travel at very busy times of the year? Everyone who is rushing around to make it to their destination in time for special holidays and events has one goal in mind and that is arriving to their destination safely. Unfortunately this not always the case. If you and your family are planning a road trip this year, keep your distance and steer clear of tractor-trailers and large trucks on the road!

A study was conducted by the US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) which has shed new light on the causes of truck/car collisions. There are many situations which can lead up to a tractor-trailer accident, however one of the most common reasons for this unfortunate event is transporting cargo that is overweight. “When a truck is overweight, it makes them more likely to roll over and more unstable. (”. Of course this is not the only culprit behind many tractor-trailer and truck accidents. There are many other causes of tractor-trailer and truck accidents. Some of them are listed below.

Driver Error

• Fatigue: in order to reach their destination in time, many drivers spend too much time on the road and not enough time catching up on their rest. Driving on too little sleep can impair their vision and can cause situations on the road.

• Speed: when driving a large truck with overweight cargo, drivers need to account for increased breaking time. Sudden stops are not always able to be done, so if you are on the road in front of a truck or tractor-trailer, you should either switch lanes or give yourself enough distance in case a truck needs to slam on the breaks.


• Cell phones and radio: when a truck driver spends long hours on the road, he or she may use their phone or radio to help make the time pass. By engaging in cell phone or radio usage, they make become distracted losing sight of others on the road which can lead to an accident.
Equipment Failure: this cannot always be avoided, however, trucks should be inspected often to prevent any form of equipment failure from happening such as break failure or hitch detachment. Unfortunately, trucks will spend just as much time on the roads as cars if not more, so always be cautious when driving alongside of one.

Sources: & eHow

Make it your New Year’s Resolution to refrain from texting while driving and here is why!

Did you know that some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, according to are to lose weight, quit smoking, manage stress and save more money? However, as important as these are to one’s well being, there is one other resolution that did not make the list but should have; refraining from texting while driving.

It is unfortunate that car and truck crashes are among the leading causes of death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each day in the United States more than 9 people are killed and more than 1,060 people are injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. As important as it is to manage stress and become healthier, it is also so important to refrain from texting while driving.

Here are 5 facts to help make you aware of the dangers of this habit and make your New Year’s no texting while driving resolution, stick.

  1. About 6,000 deaths and a half million injuries are caused by distracted drivers every year.
  2. Drivers in their 20’s make up 27 percent of the distracted drivers in fatal crashes.
  3. Talking on a cell phone while driving creates the distractions and diminished driving skills equal to driving with a 0.08 blood alcohol level (the point of legal intoxication in all states sufficient for an arrest for DWI/DUI).
  4. Reading or answering a text message or email while driving takes your attention away from the road for about five seconds, enough time to travel the length of a football field.
  5. Text messaging creates a crash risk 23 times worse than driving while not distracted (FCC.Gov).

Texting while driving has unfortunately wedged its way into society making it a “cultural norm”, however, understanding the risks involved will help spread awareness of the dangers it can cause. Life is short so don’t make it any shorter by texting and driving.

Sources: NHTSA, FCC.Gov, and

6 Apps That Prevent Texting and Driving

May-BlogIn today’s multi-channel, multi-tasking world, cell phones have become distractions that are making it difficult to stay focused and concentrate on the task at hand. Millions of people look down at their cell phones while they are driving to check text messages, emails, even missed calls. Texting and driving is distracted driving, and causes about 6,000 deaths and half a million injuries each year. This disturbing statistic has opened the eyes of many cell phone providers and app developers, and has lead to the creation of apps that prevent distracted driving.

  • AT&T Drive Mode:  Developed by service provider AT&T, this app will send an automated reply when activated and a car reaches a speed of 25 MPH or more. Notifications are disabled when a text, e-mail, or call is received. Of course, there is some leniency with the app, like allowing certain calls to come through and access to music playlists. Recent updates to the app now allow parents to be informed of when their teens are behind the wheel or when the app is not being used by their teens.
  • Drive  Hands-free technology has helped make talking and driving safe, allowing the ability to make or receive calls while driving through the use of blue tooth technology. With the Drive app, you can now send and read text messages and e-mails hands-free. Simply touching the “On” button activates the app and notifies the user of incoming texts or e-mails without ever having to look at your phone. Drive is customizable and won’t take up a lot of memory space on your phone, allowing you to stay connected and drive safely.
  • Texticution:  This app disables texting and driving. Utilizing your GPS, Texticution determines the speed at which your vehicle is travelling to determine whether or not texting features can be used. If you are over 10 MPH, texting abilities are disabled. Under 10 MPH, you can ask for permission to view or send messages. This feature can also be used to unlock texting abilities for passengers. This app is left on constantly, so you will never have to worry about turning it on or off, making texting and driving a thing of the past.
  • Drive Scribe:  Finally, a rewards program that allows you to earn points you can actually use for safe driving. Mathematicians, transportation researchers, and other experts at the University of Minnesota developed this engaging app to help decrease the levels of texting and driving in the United States. Drive Scribe allows you to turn off text notifications and send automated responses. It also allows you to track your driving performance (including violations), and earn points every time you use the app. Users can earn rewards in the form of gift cards for popular retailers.
  • Text-STAR – Much like Texticution and Drive Scribe, Text-STAR turns of texting notifications when your phone senses motion over 10 MPH. This app also gives you the ability to schedule texts in advance, whether you’re planning on driving or have other plans and want to disconnect from your phone for a bit.
  • Apple is also recognizing the dangers of texting and driving. Though still a work in progress, Apple is working on developing software that will disable iPhone functions when a person is driving. As a leader in the cell phone market, Apple has the ability to treat the addiction that cell phone use has become.

While the greatest safety system is simply turning off your phone, these cell phone apps give drivers an extra boost of will power to avoid texting and driving. Don’t become another statistic. Utilize these cell phone applications to avoid distracted driving.

What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care

What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care

Dr. Marty Makary: There are a lot of things that hospitals do not tell you. I’ve seen people die because of preventable medical mistakes.

Dr. Peter Pronovost: The public has no way of knowing who’s good and who’s not. You could have more information about toothpaste or a car you’re buying than you do about the healthcare you get.

Dr. Harvey Fineberg: There are more than one in every $6.00 in the United States economy that flows through the health care system.

Shannon Brownlee: It is a gigantic industry. Patients are kind of the vehicle for making money.

Dr. Harvey Fineberg: Thirty to forty percent of the entire healthcare expenditure is going for purposes like fraud, over treatment, unnecessary tests.

Shannon Brownlee: Healthcare is not supposed to be as broken as this book shows it to be.

Dr. Marty Makary: There are dangerous hospitals and dangerous zones within hospitals all over the United States. The only thing is patients don’t know about them. The hospital will knowingly have a high complication rate and continue to provide those services with little or no incentive to clean up their act. There’s very little accountability in healthcare.

Dr. David Bates: When we started doing work around patient safety, there was a big backlash. The head of the American Medical Association got on television and said that we were exaggerating and we weren’t telling the truth. I was a little shocked by that.

Dr. Harvey Fineberg: I think we’ve moved a long way from skepticism initially that we even had a problem with medical errors to understanding that we have a very serious set of deficiencies in care that we can correct.

Dr. George Curfman: Hospitals are complicated places. There’s zillions of possibilities for error.

Dr. Marty Makary: I bumped into one of my Harvard professors at a conference. He looked out at this conference room of 2000 people and he said, “How many of you know of another doctor who should not be practicing because he’s too dangerous?” Every single hand went up.

Patty Skolnik: I wish I read the book Unaccountable before my son had been injured and had gone into the hospital. I believe it could have saved his life. We didn’t know the answers. We didn’t know the questions to get the answers and blindly trusted what the doctor said. We lost our child because of that.

Shannon Brownlee: One of the things that is kind of the dirty secret underlying a lot of this is that the drug and device industries have made it their business to sell their products, not only to patients but to physicians.

James Cole: The Justice Department and our law enforcement partners have reached a historic $3 billion resolution with the pharmaceutical manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline.

Carmen Ortiz: GSK’s salesforce brought physicians to prescribe GSK products using every imaginable form of high-priced entertainment.

James Cole: This action constitutes the largest healthcare settlement in United States history.

Dr. Peter Pronovost: Unaccountable is a gripping story about what’s wrong with the American healthcare system and what we might do to make it better.

Shannon Brownlee: It tells about things that physicians have known for a long time, that nurses have known for a long time and that some of us who have been reporting on healthcare and observing healthcare and measuring healthcare have known for a long time as well, but most patients don’t know it. I think many people, if not most, would be shocked by what’s in this book.

Dr. Marty Makary: I don’t think medicine should be a secret business.

Has Medical Malpractice Declined Over the Years? Unfortunately, No.

When you think of a hospital, what is the first thing that comes to mind? Many think of a hospital as a safe place where they can safely leave all their worries to the doctors who are there to treat them. A hospital is considered a safe haven for many, but for others it is like a nightmare. According to the Chairman of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging, “the problem of patients dying or being harmed because of preventable medical errors in U.S. hospitals remains one of grave consequences that is not getting enough attention.” A recent study in the Journal of Patient Safety showed that about 400,000 people in hospitals each year die prematurely due to preventable, substandard or negligent medical or nursing care. This number is more than four times higher than what was found by the Institute of Medicine (a part of the National Academy of Sciences) in its 1999 study. In that study, the Institute determined there were 98,000 deaths per year caused by substandard or negligent medical or nursing care in hospitals. These numbers do not address the patients who have been injured by substandard hospital care but have not died. When you add those patients to the statistics, the number of people harmed each year due to medical malpractice in hospitals is far greater than 400,000 per year.

This issue raises the question: “are patients clearly safer in U.S. hospitals today than they were 15 years ago?” Dr. Ashish Jha, a professor at the Harvard University School of Public Health, says “no.” Patient-safety experts are again emphasizing the need for a greater focus on the avoidable health risks and safety issues that are presented in hospitals, and are calling for redesign and strengthening of health safety systems. This statement from Dr. Jha says it all: “Until we get to the point where the CEO of the hospital is lying awake at night worrying about patient safety, I don’t think we’re going to move the needle.” Clearly more needs to be done to protect patients. Until patient safety is made a top priority, injuries and deaths due to substandard or negligent medical or nursing care in hospitals will continue to be an ever-growing problem.

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