What is Fetal Distress?
Plenty of babies are delivered with nary a hiccup. The process of childbirth is by no means easy, but often, both mother and baby remain healthy and well throughout, with no signs of medical distress.
Unfortunately, a small number of deliveries are beset by problems like fetal distress that can result in a temporary or permanent birth injury or even death. While many medical professionals correctly diagnose and treat fetal distress, cases of (birth injury) unrecognized fetal distress can also occur.
Whether medical professionals fail to diagnose fetal distress properly, they ignore obvious signs, or they simply fail to take signs of fetal distress seriously, you can pursue a medical malpractice case when your baby suffers harm or death as a result. The experienced team at The Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq. can help you fight for maximum compensation.
Common Signs of Fetal Distress Your Doctor May Have Missed
While fetal distress isn’t always easily recognizable, medical professionals must take any potential signs of fetal distress seriously and investigate. It is their responsibility to know the signs of fetal distress, remain vigilant in monitoring maternal and fetal health throughout labor and delivery, and have the necessary skill and equipment to diagnose and treat fetal distress in order to prevent injury or death.
Common signs of fetal distress during pregnancy include:
- Significant decrease in, or total cessation of, fetal movement
- Significant increase or decrease in fetal heart rate
- Unusual weight gain during pregnancy (high or low)
- Cramping and/or vaginal bleeding
- Meconium present in amniotic fluid
- Unusually high levels of lactate in the baby’s blood
Although medical professionals should monitor for these signs throughout pregnancy and childbirth, vigilance is especially important in cases of geriatric pregnancy (mother over the age of 35), multiple births (i.e., twins, triplets, etc.), preeclampsia (maternal high blood pressure), and hydramnios (excess amniotic fluid), just for example.
Common causes of fetal distress during labor and delivery include:
- Fetal oxygen deprivation
- Umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s neck
- Placental abruption (early separation of the placenta from the uterine wall)
- Uterine rupture
- Prolonged labor, which may cause both maternal and fetal distress
- Breech birth
- Birth injury, such as shoulder dystocia
- Certain infections (such as Group B Strep)
Other conditions or situations can also play a role in the onset of fetal distress. The important thing is that medical professionals monitor for common signs and diagnose and treat them in a timely manner to prevent harm or death from (birth injury) unrecognized fetal distress.
Is Unrecognized Fetal Distress Medical Malpractice?
The simple answer is yes. If signs of fetal distress are present and medical professionals fail to recognize them and deliver proper treatment in a timely manner, resulting in harm or death, it constitutes negligence and provides the legal standing for a medical malpractice case. Failure to monitor a mother and child for signs of fetal distress or recognize conditions that could increase risks for fetal distress does not absolve medical professionals of responsibility for harm.
Call a Medical Malpractice Lawyer Today!
When your newborn suffers harm or dies because of medical professionals’ negligence leading to a failure to diagnose and treat fetal distress, you will be understandably bereft. Let the qualified professionals at The Trial Law Offices of Bradley I. Kramer, M.D., Esq. pursue the maximum compensation you deserve when (birth injury) unrecognized fetal distress occurs. Contact us now at 310-289-2600 or online to schedule your free initial consultation.