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An unborn child doesn’t breathe air. Instead, they receive the oxygenation and nutrients they need to survive in the womb through their mother’s umbilical cord. If there is a disruption, then hypoxia, a condition where the child’s tissues and body are not getting enough oxygen, will occur. This could then lead to the increase of lactic acid levels in the blood, or fetal acidosis. Acidosis is the term that means there is a high level of acid in the body’s tissues and fluid.
There are two kinds of fetal acidosis: acute and chronic. While acute fetal acidosis describes the condition in which blood flow and function are disrupted for hours, chronic fetal acidosis describes a disruption that lasts for days or weeks on end.
One cause of fetal acidosis is placental. If the placenta separates from the uterine wall, then the circulation of gases between the mother and the child are going to be disrupted. Additionally, if the placenta did not properly develop in early pregnancy, then this could potentially reduce the placental transfer that is supposed to happen between the mother and the child.
Another cause is fetal. If the umbilical cord becomes wrapped around the child’s neck or it’s compressed during delivery, then the blood flow from the placenta to the fetus could be interrupted. A third cause has to do with the mother. Pre-eclampsia, cardiac or respiratory disease, hemorrhage, abnormally low blood pressure or blood volumes, or aesthesia with an epidural can lead to fetal acidosis.
Symptoms of Fetal Acidosis
If a baby has fetal acidosis, then the following symptoms may appear:
- Abnormal heart rate in the fetus
- Decreased fetal movement
- Prolonged and very painful or stressful labor with low oxygen levels
- Elevated lactate levels in the infant
- Infant has anemia, respiratory distress, or an infection after being born
If the doctors are unable to treat fetal acidosis in a baby altogether or they fail to treat the baby properly, then the baby could develop hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, cerebral palsy, paralysis, brain damage, motor disorders, heart problems, and blindness. Some symptoms of these conditions include:
- Low Apgar scores
- Low muscle tone
- Muscle stiffness
- Breathing issues
- Abnormal response to light
- Unable to learn how to do everyday tasks
- Organ failure or damage
- Difficulty feeding
- Lack of balance and muscle coordination
Doctors will diagnose fetal acidosis by using some different tests. They might perform a non-stress test, which would pinpoint reduced oxygen levels before delivery and signs that there is fetal distress. They will also look at the child’s biophysical profile score and monitor the fetal heart rate. Another option is to conduct an umbilical cord blood gas test or do a blood test to examine the blood-acid levels in the child.
Treatment for Fetal Acidosis
In order to treat fetal acidosis, doctors may perform an emergency C-section. They will change the mother’s position and give her oxygen and more intravenous fluids to ensure she’s ready for the C-section. In order to treat hypoxia, doctors may do therapeutic hypothermia, which involves cooling the baby’s body down for 72 hours. This can minimize the brain damage that an infant may experience.
In the long term, if a child has cerebral palsy, they might need to take anticonvulsants and sedatives as well as use medical equipment and go to physical therapy. Children with brain damage could have to do occupational and recreational therapy as well. They might require surgery at some point, too. The treatment all depends on the severity of the brain damage, but it could last for the rest of their lives.
How Do I Know if Medical Malpractice Caused Fetal Acidosis?
You may believe that medical malpractice occurred because you think your doctor didn’t do the required treatment. Or, perhaps they delayed doing the right thing and your baby now has fetal acidosis. Even if your doctor made an error, it might not equate to medical malpractice, which has to show that negligence happened.
The only way to really know if medical malpractice was at play is to contact a birth injury lawyer. They have the expertise and experience with cases like yours and will be able to tell you in their professional opinion if they think you have a valid case.
How Much Will I Receive From a Fetal Acidosis Settlement?
If your lawyer is able to prove that medical malpractice was a factor in your baby’s fetal acidosis diagnosis, then you could potentially receive a settlement for damages like:
- Medical bills
- Loss of companionship and enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Future medical care
- Loss of earning capacity
You lawyer will calculate your non-economic and economic damages and let you know what they’re pursuing.
Settlement Offers in a Fetal Acidosis Case
The way the process works is like this: You will get in touch with a birth injury lawyer and they will ask you questions about what happened. Then, they’ll ask if you have any evidence to prove your case. For instance, maybe you have photographs of your baby’s injuries, your medical records, or witness statements from people who saw what happened. If you need additional evidence, your lawyer might be able to retrieve it for you.
Then, your lawyer will compile the evidence and get in touch with your doctor, the defendant, to try to reach a settlement. The defendant may settle right away to avoid having to go to court, or they may offer you a lower settlement. They might deny the claim altogether and force you to go to court. No matter what happens, your lawyer will listen to what you want and do what’s best.
Why Reach Out to a Birth Injury Lawyer?
Having a baby was supposed to be the happiest moment in your life. Now, you’re stressed out and worried about your baby’s health. Why should you have to cover your expenses on top of everything else you’re going through? The defendant should have to pay.
Your birth injury lawyer will fight on your behalf to get you the settlement you deserve. They will take your mind off your case so you can focus on helping your baby and yourself at this time.
Fetal Acidosis Birth Injury Attorneys
If you believe that your baby’s fetal acidosis diagnosis was caused by medical malpractice, then make sure you get in touch with the birth injury lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian today. They’re standing by and looking forward to assisting you.
Contact Gilman & Bedigian 24/7 for a free consultation at (800) 529-6162.