Failure to Timely Deliver During Fetal Distress
Fetal distress occurs when a baby’s oxygen supply is compromised in the uterus. Fetal distress can also occur during the labor and delivery process, making it necessary for the doctors, nurses, and other hospital or medical professionals to deliver the baby in an urgent or emergent manner. It is estimated that 25 of 100 births can have complications related to fetal distress.
The symptoms of baby distress are a decrease in the fetus’ heart rate, a decrease or change in movement of the fetus in uteri, or a presence of meconium in the amniotic fluid during the labor/birthing process. Meconium is the baby’s first stools that are composed of cellular debris, mucus, and bile, which can be toxic to the baby.
If these symptoms occur, doctors, nurses and other healthcare providers should act promptly. Possible actions include:
- Moving the mother to her left side to reduce pressure on the fetus
- Giving the mother oxygen
- Checking for a prolapsed umbilical cord
- Increasing intravenous (IV) fluids
- Quickly delivering the baby by forceps or vacuum extractor
- Performing a Caesarian section (C-section)
Failure to timely deliver the baby can result in fetal hypoxia, which means the baby is not receiving adequate oxygen. Inadequate oxygen has a range of effects on the baby, some of which are minor and treatable.
Long-Term Effects of Fetal Distress
- Brain injury
- Cerebral palsy
- Cortical blindness
- Mental retardation
- Developmental delays
The medical professional must respond to signs of fetal distress appropriately, but there are cases in which the medical community falls short. Some possible scenarios are:
- Fetal heart monitoring (FHM) is not used during labor
- Medical staff is not trained to correctly read/interpret fetal heart monitoring (FHM) strips
- The doctor is not present or fails to be told of the fetal distress
- The doctor fails to timely deliver the baby by c-section
The birth of a baby is a monumental and momentous occasion, and it is important for doctors, nurses and medical professionals to react to fetal distress with the utmost concern and a medically sound approach. If you believe that the birth of your child was compromised by a failure to properly respond to fetal distress, then it is important that you have a legal team that has the experience, knowledge, and dedication to help you and your family out through this medical and emotional crisis. Contact Louisville birth injury attorney Brett Oppenheimer, PLLC, and talk to Brett to see if he can be of assistance.