The relationship between fetal heart rate and contractions provides medical staff with critical information about fetal health during labor and delivery. Unfortunately, errors monitoring, reading, or setting up fetal monitors are far from uncommon, placing babies at greater risk for oxygen deprivation and other serious issues that can result in a birth injury.
Complications Related to Improper Fetal Monitoring
When fetal monitoring is not carried out appropriately, the baby is at heightened risk for a number of serious injuries including:
- Brain damage
- Cerebral Palsy
- Nerve damage
In severe cases, oxygen deprivation may result in stillbirth.
If you suspect oxygen deprivation or improper fetal monitoring contributed to your child’s injury, Watkins, Lourie, Roll & Chance is here to help. Call us at 404-760-7400 to schedule a complimentary case review and learn about your options and your rights. We serve Atlanta, Savannah, Decatur, Columbus, Augusta, and all surrounding areas of Georgia.
A Closer Look at Fetal Heartrate Monitoring
Electronic fetal monitoring is typically accomplished with a monitoring strip placed over the belly of the mother. This strip is essential for monitoring the baby’s heart rate and the pattern of maternal contractions, enabling hospital staff and doctors to respond appropriately to signs of fetal distress that may indicate oxygen deprivation or another serious issue.
Fetal monitors look for changes in the baby’s heart rate to catch signs of distress such as:
- Bradycardia – a heart rate below 110 BPM which often indicates a lack of oxygen. In most cases, if a baby can be delivered within 10 to 17 minutes of bradycardia, brain damage can be prevented
- Tachycardia – a heart rate higher than 160 BPM which may also indicate oxygen deprivation. Babies in a state of tachycardia must be delivered immediately
Fetal monitoring looks for a variable heart rate, which is healthy in babies. A pattern of decelerations in variable heart rate is a sign of distress and may mean the baby is losing oxygen and at risk for hypoxia and ischemia.
Negligent Monitoring of Fetal Distress
Changes in fetal heart rate are normal, but there are certain signs that indicate distress and may necessitate immediate medical intervention. Negligent monitoring may include:
- Inattention to readouts
- Improper monitor installation
- Misreading information
- Failure to notice abnormalities
- Failure to take action when fetal distress is indicated
It is the job of hospital staff to monitor the baby and the mother before and during labor and delivery in order to protect them against complications that may result in injury. Failure to do so, no matter its cause, is a form of medical malpractice that may entitle victims to compensation for medical, financial, physical, and emotional damages. The best way to determine if your family has cause to file suit is through a free and confidential consultation at one of our Atlanta offices.
How Can You Know if Improper Monitoring Caused Injury to Your Child?
It can be difficult to know for certain if improver monitoring during labor and delivery resulted in your child’s injury. That’s why it’s important to bring your case to an experienced birth injury law firm where a thorough investigation can be performed to determine if medical malpractice played a role in harming your child.
Watkins, Lourie, Roll & Chance retains an experienced labor and delivery nurse on staff, full-time, for birth injury cases. In addition, founding partner Lance Lourie has attended courses focused on electronic fetal monitoring malpractice, giving us greater insight into potential missteps and enabling us to more thoroughly comb through hours of information to find all signs of neglect.
Thorough, competent, and dedicated, our birth injury team will take all the time necessary to review your medical records and determine if negligence played a role in your child’s injury.
Contact Us for a Complimentary Case Review
To learn if you are entitled to legal action, call Watkins, Lourie, Roll & Chance at 404-760-7400 today. We serve Metro Atlanta and all surrounding areas of Georgia and maintain two offices in the city to enhance convenience. However, if your child’s injury makes travel difficult, one of our attorneys will come to you to review your case and help you understand your options.