Portland Fetal Distress Lawyer

Labor and delivery can be an exciting time for any parent-to-be. It can also be a terrifying time full of uncertainty, as many different things can go wrong during labor or delivery that can result in harm to your baby. Fortunately, modern medical technology allows medical staff to constantly monitor the state of you and your baby during labor, including heart rate, oxygen levels, and other important vital signs. If there is a sign that something is not right, the doctor should be immediately called to examine the situation and determine whether emergency action – such as a C-section – should be taken.

Unfortunately, even with all of the available monitors and warning alarms, many medical professionals fail to notice or recognize the signs that a fetus may be in distress. In these situations, if proper steps are not taken to protect the baby, the baby can suffer severe and life-changing birth injuries. Such injuries have the potential to cause the entire course of a person’s life. In some cases, these injuries can cut a life very short.

If a doctor’s negligence regarding fetal distress caused serious or fatal injuries to your baby, you should not delay in discussing the matter with an experienced and compassionate birth injury attorney as soon as possible.

The Dangers of Fetal Distress Errors

When a baby is in distress during labor or delivery, it is often because they are not getting enough oxygen. Oxygen deprivation can dangerously lower a baby’s heart rate and, if it persists long enough, can also result in very serious damage to brain tissue. For this reason, fetal heart rate (FHR) monitoring systems should be carefully monitored throughout the entire labor and delivery process. If a baby’s heart rate drops, the medical staff should take action to evaluate whether fetal distress is occurring.

If fetal distress is happening, a doctor should evaluate the situation and decide to either speed up a vaginal birth (if safe and possible) or to order an emergency C-section. Delivering the baby in either manner can help give them the oxygen needed so they are no longer in distress. However, if the signs of fetal distress are ignored and no action is taken, the oxygen deprivation can continue and can cause severe birth injuries.

Extended oxygen deprivation can result in a very serious condition called infant hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). HIE is a brain injury caused by a lack of blood or oxygen that can result in long-term brain dysfunction. Research has shown than HIE is a leading cause of both disabilities in infants and of infant death.

If a baby survives HIE, they can experience a variety of effects, which can range from relatively mild to devastating depending on the severity of the oxygen deprivation and brain damage. Patients with HIE may experience the following effects and more:

  • Developmental delays;
  • Cognitive impairments;
  • Epilepsy;
  • Neurological delays;
  • Delays in motor skill development.

Holding Doctors Accountable for Fetal Distress Errors

Doctors and medical staff should always pay proper attention to the fetal heart rate monitors and any other monitoring systems that may indicate fetal distress while a mother is in labor or delivery. If medical professionals fail to pay close attention or ignore the signs of possible fetal distress, they should be held liable for any injuries to the child and losses to the parents.

In addition, if a doctor recognizes fetal distress, they should have the knowledge to make decisions for the right course of action in that particular situation. They should be able to identify when it is safe to continue trying for a vaginal birth and when a C-section is necessary. If a doctor delays in ordering a C-section or does not order one at all when they should have, they must be held responsible.

Contact a Fetal Distress Lawyer

If your child suffered permanent disability, serious injury, or did not survive because a doctor failed to identify signs of fetal distress and act appropriately, your first call should to discuss your rights and options with a highly skilled Portland birth injury lawyer. Injury or death due to fetal distress is a very serious claim. While compensation can never reverse time and change what happened to your baby, it can help you move forward and care for your child. Marc Johnston is a skilled medical malpractice attorney, and is here to help you through every stage of your birth injury case. Here at the Johnston Law Firm, LLC, we are committed to helping people in your situation, so call our office for a free consultation at (503) 546-3167.