Archives for February 2016

Doctor taking notesWhen properly diagnosed and treated, jaundice (also known as Hyperbilirubinemia) is essentially harmless. It’s a fairly common condition in newborns, with some studies finding that as many as one in four infants have some level of jaundice. It’s caused by an overabundance of a protein—bilirubin—in the blood of a new baby, and is usually effectively treated with ultraviolet light. However, if not properly treated, it may build up to such a level that the protein stays in the brain cell of the infant, causing permanent brain damage (a condition known as “kernicterus”).

Studies show that all babies are at risk of jaundice immediately after birth. A premature birth may increase the risk of higher bilirubin levels, and research has shown that baby boys are more susceptible to the condition.

Though jaundice physically manifests in a yellow tint to the child’s skin (the condition is often referred to as “yellow jaundice”), all new babies should, as a matter of course, have bilirubin levels tested before leaving the hospital. It’s a simple blood test, usually done with a prick to the infant’s foot. If bilirubin levels are unacceptably high, the child should receive treatment at the hospital. It’s also customary to send a child home with portable UV lights, and have a home health care worker stop by and check the child’s levels on a daily basis.

If your child has been diagnosed with jaundice and is discharged to go home, he or she should have a scheduled follow-up with your treating physician, ideally within two days of leaving the hospital. It can also be beneficial to your child to be exposed to as much natural light as possible, so placing your child’s crib with exposure from natural sunlight (by a window) can be helpful. Many doctors will also recommend that you suspend breastfeeding until your child’s bilirubin levels have returned to acceptable levels.

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At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to people throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us at 856-200-8989.

Medical Malpractice and Shoulder Dystocia

Doctor preparing for a proceedureWhen you are giving birth to a child, there’s always the possibility that, once the baby’s head is out of the birth canal, one of its shoulders will get caught on your pubic bone, a condition known as “Shoulder Dystocia.” If your delivering physician fails to take appropriate steps, your child can suffer very serious consequences, including damage to the brachial plexus nerves that control the shoulder, arms, hands and fingers. This can lead to loss of use or paralysis. In rare situations, shoulder Dystocia may impede the flow of blood and oxygen, causing brain damage, cerebral palsy or even death.

Erb’s Palsy and Klumpke’s Palsy

There are commonly accepted procedures that can ease the pressure on your baby’s shoulder and minimize the risk of injury. Often, though, delivering physicians will try to force the shoulder past the pubic bone. When this causes injury to the upper group of arm nerves, your child may be left with limited range of motion of the affected arm, or may not be able to raise the arm at all, a condition known medically as Erb-Duchenne palsy, or Erb’s palsy. If, however, the carelessness of the physician causes damage to the nerves/muscles in the forearm or the hand, your child may have limited or no use of hands or fingers. It’s also common for a child who has suffered injury because of shoulder Dystocia to have the damaged arm end up shorter.

There are medical procedures and treatments for both Erb’s and Klumpke’s palsies, but they can be extensive and expensive. Your child may benefit from nerve grafting or surgeries that cut and reposition bones, muscle or tendons. It’s likely, though, that your son or daughter will face years of physical therapy.

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At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to men and women throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us at 856-200-8989.

Separated coupleIf your marriage isn’t working, the typical response is to legally end it by filing for divorce. There may, however, be reasons why you might want to file for legal separation without officially terminating the marriage.

What is Legal Separation?

A legal separation is often a precursor to divorce, allowing the parties to resolve all potential issues, such as custody and visitation, support, and property distribution, without officially ending the marriage. With a legal separation, the parties enter into a binding agreement that sets forth the terms of the separation. The agreement must generally be in writing, signed by both parties and witnessed by a licensed notary. Though most separation agreements simply address issues of custody, support and property, you can include provisions related to day care, insurance, mortgage and car payments and even tax returns. With a legal separation, there is no need to involve the court in any proceedings, unless one of the parties fails to honor the terms of the agreement.

Why Legal Separation Instead of Divorce?

Among the reasons you may want to consider legal separation instead of divorce are:

  • You or your spouse may be able to keep health insurance benefits (which are always terminated in the event of a divorce) through an employer’s plan
  • You can have the tax advantages of married filing jointly
  • You can become eligible for certain Social Security benefits if you remain married for at least 10 years
  • If you (and/or your spouse) are in the military, there can be benefits available under the Uniform Services Former Spouse Protection Act, provided you are married at least 10 years
  • Separation can give you time to reconcile without the permanency of divorce
  • If your faith prohibits divorce, you can stay true to your religious beliefs

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At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to injured people throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us at 856-200-8989.

Ways to Make Your Child’s Bicycle Safer

Family riding bikesKids just love to ride a bike, but statistics show that bicycling can be a potentially dangerous activity, with nearly half a million emergency room visits every year related to bike accidents. Though many of the accidents are the result of lack of supervision, authorities say that safety features (or lack thereof) can also contribute to accidents. Not surprisingly, the U.S. Consumer Safety Product Commission has a specific set of design guidelines that manufacturer’s must follow when selling or marketing bicycles, with special standards for children’s bicycles.

The CSPC determines whether a bicycle must comply with the standards set for children’s bikes by looking at the wheel size, with the safety regulations varying based on wheel size. As a general rule, bikes with a 12-16 inch wheel base (as compared to the full-sized 23 inch base) must have more built-in safety features, as their users, small children, will have less strength and coordination. Here are some of the guidelines:

Balance Bicycles

The most basic type of child bike is what is known as the “balance bike.” This bicycle has no pedals, gears or drive system at all. It is designed entirely to be propelled either by the child, or with assistance from an adult. These bikes are most often used by children under the age of four. Because they are not considered road bikes in any sense, they do not need brakes or reflectors.

Sidewalk Bikes

Balance bikes fall under the broader category of “sidewalk bikes,” which are generally not intended for use on roadways. As a general rule, these bikes don’t have a wheelbase larger than 12 inches. If the height of the seat is less than 22 inches, these bikes don’t need brakes. If the seat is higher than 22 inches, the bike must have a foot brake. These bikes are considered entry-level or training bikes, and should only be used by children under the age of five. They typically have training wheels and, if they have a chain, must also have a guard.

Contact Taylor & Boguski

At Taylor & Boguski, we bring more than 70 years of combined legal experience to injured people throughout New Jersey. For a free initial consultation, contact our office online or call us at 856-200-8989.