Fetal Distress, Birth Injuries & Medical Malpractice

Do you suspect your medical team missed crucial fetal distress signals that caused injury to your child? Call us for a free case review; you may have the right to compensation.

We all know that a doctor can’t guarantee a perfect pregnancy and delivery. Pregnancy and giving birth are inherently risky situations to some degree.

However, a doctor does have an obligation to monitor the health of the infant along with the expectant mother. Legally, the doctor and/or nurses are tasked with observing fetal monitoring strips for signs of fetal distress (such as a decreased heartbeat) and acting quickly to mitigate any preventable harm to the mother and child.

Toward the latter stages of pregnancy, the risk of fetal distress significantly increases, and doctors are acutely aware of this. They have a responsibility to look for signs and act accordingly if they are observed.

The following are some of the most common causes of fetal distress.

Fetal Distress & Birth Injuries

Among the most important monitoring tools that your doctor will introduce to you will be the fetal heart rate monitor and the ultrasound system.  Penn State Hershey states that the fetal heart rate monitoring system can “monitor the baby’s heartbeat in the uterus, including during labor.” This type of testing can be done internally or externally and can help to prevent birth injury.

The doctor must evaluate the fetal heart rate variability in between beats and how they compare to the uterine contractions to recognize any signs of fetal distress. Measuring the frequency and the power of these uterine contractions is also important. This is all crucial information in determining how the baby is coping with the birth process. If the unborn child is not coping well then emergency treatment will be required.

The doctor and mother will work together to watch for signs of increased blood pressure, symptoms of diabetes, or any other infection because all of these will increase the risk of fetal distress occurring. A doctor is not required to be perfect, but he or she must provide a reasonable degree of care that has been set as a legal standard by the medical industry.

Take Fetal Distress Seriously

Fetal distress is certainly nothing to take lightly.  Even short occurrences of fetal distress can cause problems with cerebral palsy, Erb’s palsy, and shoulder dystocia.  The most damaging occurrences can result in brain damage.

The American Family Physician lists some of these damaging conditions:

  • Cerebral Palsy: This condition happens when an infection is present or when there is a low level of oxygen at the time of birth. This condition causes the loss of muscle control and a heavy impact on the child’s natural ability to walk or even stand in some cases.
  • Hypoxia: Caused by the deprivation of oxygen to the brain and/or other tissue, this type of injury can lead to permanent brain damage, cerebral palsy, and hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.
  • Shoulder Dystocia: Caused by the fetus getting its shoulder stuck during birth, this can cause hemorrhaging in the mother or brachial plexus palsy (such as Erb’s Palsy) in the future baby.

These are all problems that will affect you and your child for the rest of your lives most likely.  The Rasansky Law Firm wants to stress the fact that these problems can be minimized or avoided if a doctor takes appropriate action such as suggested by The Mayo Clinic.  A doctor will usually recommend a C-section if severe fetal distress is likely to affect the child.

If the doctor fails to live up to the precedent the medical industry has set, then this is a case of medical malpractice. If your baby dies or is born with a birth injury because of medical malpractice, you may be entitled to damages.

The best thing to do is to talk to a qualified attorney who can help you build a case. Contact us today and talk to our birth injury attorneys to find out about your legal rights.



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Note: The information that was utilized in this post was gathered from the use of secondary sources. This information used has not been confirmed or independently verified. If you locate any information that is not correct, please contact our firm as soon as possible so that we can make the appropriate corrections. If you find any information that is false, we will remove or correct the post immediately after it is brought to our attention.

Disclaimer: As a valued member of the Dallas community, Rasansky Law Firm’s goal is to improve the safety of all residents in the great state of Texas. These posts should not be viewed as a solicitation for business and the information included herein should not be taken as medical or legal advice. The photos used in this post are not representative of the actual crash scene.

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