New Jersey Fetal Distress Birth Injury Attorneys
When your child is in distress, your first instinct is to alleviate the problem. But during labor and delivery, you simply cannot know what your baby is experiencing in the womb. This is why doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals must diligently monitor you and your baby throughout the childbirth process. There are a host of circumstances that may indicate your baby is in distress. It is your doctor’s responsibility to recognize signs of fetal distress and take immediate action to prevent serious harm. Failure to identify or respond to fetal distress in a timely manner can lead to severe birth injuries, permanent brain damage, and in the most tragic cases, death. If your child suffered birth trauma because medical staff failed to address fetal distress, you should consult with an experienced birth injury attorney about your legal options. Our New Jersey law firm represents victims of birth injuries caused by fetal distress and we are here for you. Contact us online or call (866)-708-8617 for an absolutely free, no-obligation consultation.
What is Fetal Distress?
Fetal distress is a serious complication that occurs during pregnancy, labor, or delivery. As the term indicates, the fetus is under increased pressure and having some functional difficulty that may ultimately compromise the brain and other organs. Typically, fetal distress involves lack of oxygen, also known as neonatal asphyxia. If the fetus is not receiving adequate oxygen during labor, the heart will have to work harder and may become compromised. Abnormal heart rate is the primary sign of fetal distress, which is why doctors and medical staff must monitor the baby’s heart rate through the entire process of labor and delivery. Potential signs of fetal distress include:
- Increased heart rate
- Decreased heart rate
- Abnormal vital signs
- Presence of meconium in the amniotic fluid
- Metabolic acidosis
Fetal Distress Causes
There are many conditions and complications that may lead to fetal distress during labor and delivery. Some of the possible causes of fetal distress include:
- Prolonged, difficult labor: also known as labor dystocia
- Nuchal cord: occurs when the umbilical cord becomes wrapped around the baby’s neck
- Umbilical cord compression: when the umbilical cord is compressed, the fetus may not receive adequate blood flow and oxygen
- Meconium-stained amniotic fluid: a condition that occurs when the fetus’s first stool is present in the amniotic fluid, which may lead to a blockage in the lungs
- Maternal hypertension
- Maternal infection
- Post-term pregnancy: 42 weeks gestation or longer
- Placental abruption
- Overstimulation of the uterus
- Uterine rupture
Fetal Distress and Medical Negligence
Doctors and medical staff have highly sophisticated fetal monitors that will show any indication of fetal distress. Diligently monitoring heart rate and vital signs throughout labor and delivery is absolutely essential to identify distress in the fetus. If nurses fail to notify doctors of potential signs of fetal distress, or doctors fail to take immediate action to address fetal distress, the consequences can be severe. Typically, if the baby is being monitored with an electronic fetal heart monitor, an abnormal heart rate should prompt medical intervention. Obstetricians may need to turn the mother on her side, provide oxygen, administer IV fluids, or perform an emergency C-section to prevent birth injuries.
Fetal distress is a dangerous situation, which may require Cesarean section delivery in a timely manner. If your doctor orders a C-section, they must perform this surgical procedure within 30 minutes to avoid being found negligent. In other words, if your baby is in distress, it is the physician’s job to determine if a C-section is necessary and to avoid any further delay in delivering your child.
Consequences of Failure to Recognize Fetal Distress
If a fetus is left in distress for a prolonged period, lack of oxygen to the brain and other organs (birth asphyxia) can result in brain damage, Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), Cerebral Palsy, and even death. Sometimes, a birth injury caused by fetal distress will be apparent immediately after birth. In other cases, birth injury symptoms will become evident after a few years when the child starts missing developmental milestones.
New Jersey Birth Injury Lawyers Fight For Clients who Suffer Harm due to Unidentified Fetal Distress
Did your child experience complications resulting from fetal distress? If your child suffered harm because a doctor or medical staff failed to recognize or address fetal distress, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. When seeking damages for medical treatment and losses associated with your child’s birth injury, you need an experienced medical malpractice team on your side. With offices in Newark, New Jersey, and Manhattan, New York, our attorneys advocate for birth injury and pediatric malpractice victims throughout the New Jersey area. We will thoroughly investigate your case to identify negligence that led to your baby’s birth injury.
If your baby suffered injury because of mismanaged birth complications in New Jersey, contact an experienced NJ birth injury lawyer on our team today. Call (866)-708-8617 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation. Don’t delay in finding out more about your rights.