Bringing a child into the world should be an exciting and joyous event, but sometimes, devastating complications during childbirth can result in birth injuries. These injuries can have life-altering consequences for both the child and their family.
Sadly, the United States is now one of the most dangerous places in the developed world to give birth both to a mother and her baby. The United States ranks first amongst all developed nations in serious birth injuries and/or death to a mother or her baby. What’s worse, many of these injuries are avoidable and preventable and occur only due to medical negligence.
In such cases, families may pursue personal injury lawsuits to seek compensation and justice. Oftentimes, such compensation is required to provide an adequate amount of care and treatment needed for a child.
Birth injuries are physical or neurological injuries that occur to a newborn before, during, or after the birthing process. These injuries can happen due to various factors, such as medical negligence, complications during labor, or issues with the baby’s positioning.
Many of these injuries and/or deaths are completely avoidable. In many cases involving birth injuries, signs and symptoms of fetal distress are ignored and unaddressed by medical providers.
Fetal distress refers to signs before and during childbirth indicating that the fetus is not well. Fetal distress can be due to multiple causes, and it may lead to complications if not promptly managed. Some conditions and factors that can cause fetal distress include:
1. Umbilical Cord Complications:
2. Placental Issues:
3. Drugs: Pitocin, which is a brand name for oxytocin, is a synthetic hormone used to induce labor or strengthen labor contractions during childbirth. While Pitocin can be a valuable tool in obstetric care, it has potential risks and side effects. It can cause hyperstimulation on the uterus, causing stress to a fetus.
4. Oligohydramnios: Reduced amniotic fluid around the fetus, which can limit the fetus’s movement and cause compression of the umbilical cord.
5. Prolonged Labor: Especially if the labor is very long or contractions are too strong and close together, it can stress the fetus.
6. Maternal Hypertension: High blood pressure in the mother can reduce the blood flow to the placenta and fetus.
7. Maternal Infections: Some infections can cross the placenta and affect the fetus, leading to distress.
8. Maternal Medical Conditions: Conditions like diabetes, thyroid disorders, and others can impact fetal well-being if not well-managed during pregnancy.
9. Multiple Pregnancy: Twins, triplets, or higher-order multiples can sometimes experience complications that lead to fetal distress.
10. Fetal Anemia: A low red blood cell count in the fetus can result from various conditions, including Rh incompatibility.
11. Shoulder Dystocia: This is a complication during delivery where the baby’s head passes through the birth canal, but the shoulders become stuck.
12. Trauma: Any trauma to the mother’s abdomen or pelvis, like a car accident or fall, can potentially lead to fetal distress.
13. Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM): If the amniotic sac breaks before labor begins, it can sometimes lead to infections or other complications.
It’s essential to recognize and manage the signs of fetal distress promptly to prevent adverse outcomes. Electronic fetal monitoring and regular prenatal check-ups play a significant role in detecting and addressing potential issues before they become severe. If fetal distress is suspected, various interventions, from changing the mother’s position to emergency cesarean delivery, could be the difference between a happy baby and a devastating birth injury.
The only way to measure fetal health and to identify signs of fetal distress is through Fetal Monitoring Strips. Fetal monitoring strips, also known as cardiotocography (CTG) or electronic fetal monitoring (EFM), record the baby’s heart rate and the mother’s uterine contractions during labor. The purpose of monitoring these parameters is to assess the baby’s well-being and to identify any potential distress or complications that might arise during labor.
By analyzing these strips, clinicians can gain insights into the well-being of the fetus. Several patterns can be observed in the fetal heart rate, which can indicate normal or concerning situations.
1. Baseline Fetal Heart Rate (FHR):
Careful attention to these strips by obstetricians and nurses is often the difference between life and death. Negligence related to fetal monitoring strips could occur if medical professionals:
Cases involving birth injury are extremely complex. They require hiring many experts, such as expert OBGYNs, perinatologists (MFM), neonatologists, neuroradiologists, physiatrists (physical rehabilitation and medicine), neurologists, life care planners, and economists. To truly obtain justice, attorneys handling such cases much leave no stone unturned and show a willingness to spend the time and money on experts and other resources.
The statute of limitations is also very complex in California. Section 340.5 of the California Code of Civil Procedure pertains to the statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits in California. The statute has specific provisions related to minors. The general rule is that a child typically has until his or her eight birthday or three years, whichever provides the longer period. In wrongful death cases involving the death of a child or a fetus, the parents often only have one year to file a case under section 340.5. However, there are various exceptions and different rules when it comes to statute of limitations, and on some occasions the statute can be as short as six months. Consultation with an attorney early is critical.
Our lawyers have years of proven birth injury settlements that have delivered substantial results for families, including:
Get in touch today, and take the first step towards reclaiming your peace of mind.
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