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When a woman is pregnant, she will visit a doctor many times before giving birth. She’ll do urine and blood tests, get ultrasounds done, have her weight checked, and undergo tests for certain conditions to make sure her baby is safe and healthy.
Then, when she goes into labor, the doctors and other healthcare professionals in the room need to monitor the baby the entire time. The medical professionals will check to see that the baby has a normal heart rate through two different methods: Auscultation, which involves periodically listening to the baby’s heart rate, and electronic fetal monitoring, where instruments are utilized to continuously record the baby’s heartbeat as well as the mother’s contractions throughout labor.
Typically, the average fetal heart rate is between 110 and 160 beats per minute, but it could vary depending on the changing conditions in the mother’s uterus. Fetal monitoring is always necessary, but if a mother’s pregnancy is high-risk, the baby is not meeting developmental milestones, or the mother has high blood pressure or diabetes, then monitoring becomes that much more important.
By doing this type of monitoring, healthcare professionals will know if something is wrong with the baby and they need to take emergency steps to keep the baby healthy. For example, if the baby has an abnormal heart rate, then the professionals may ask you to change your position so that the baby has access to more oxygen. The baby may also need to be delivered quicker either through vaginal birth, typically with vacuum extractors or forceps, or through a C-section.
When healthcare professionals fail to monitor a baby correctly, then a baby could be born with an injury or illness that may last for the rest of their life. And a mother may be able to sue the healthcare professionals for medical malpractice.
Symptoms of Fetal Monitoring Malpractice
If a baby is not monitored properly while the mother is in labor, then they could be born with a birth injury or illness, including:
- Brain damage
- Nerve damage
- Cerebral palsy
In the worst-case scenario, a stillbirth could occur. The symptoms of illnesses and injuries from a lack of fetal monitoring include:
- Stiffness in the neck
- Unable to focus or move eyes
- Feeding issues
- Overly large forehead
- Intense crying
- A low Apgar score
- Poor muscle tone, causing floppy legs and arms
- Sensitivity to touch
- Prickling or tingling sensations
A doctor will be able to diagnose a baby with an injury or illness and put them on a treatment plan.
Treatment for Fetal Monitoring Malpractice
The treatment for fetal monitoring malpractice will depend on the injury or illness that the baby is experiencing. If they have cerebral palsy, they may need to go to physical and occupational therapy for the rest of their life, have multiple surgeries, and use medical equipment to get around. If they have nerve damage, they may need to go through nerve graft surgery or do a muscle, nerve, or tendon transfer. With asphyxia, a baby could need breathing support from a machine, hypothermia (body cooling), and a heart-lung pump for life support. You may only need to administer short-term treatment, or it could be a long-term injury and require life-long care.
How Do I Know if Medical Malpractice Caused Fetal Monitoring Errors?
Medical malpractice is not taken lightly. On the one hand, the legal system makes it so that you can’t sue doctors for making a mistake. Instead, you have to prove that the doctor had a duty of care to you and your baby, they breached that duty of care because they were negligent, and that negligence caused injury to your baby.
That’s a high set of standards to reach. The bar is set that high so that patients can’t sue their doctors all the time. Then, no one would want to go into the medical profession because it’d be too risky.
You won’t know if the doctor made a mistake with fetal monitoring until you call up an experienced birth injury lawyer. They will evaluate your evidence and overall case and see if you have a chance of getting a settlement.
How Much Will I Receive From a Fetal Monitoring Malpractice Settlement?
There’s no way to determine how much you will end up settling for ahead of time. However, your lawyer will calculate your non-economic and economic damages like:
- Medical bills
- Loss of companionship and enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Future medical care
- Loss of earning capacity
The higher your medical bills and other costs, the higher your settlement could be. If your child now has a condition that’s going to be ongoing for the rest of their life, than your settlement could be higher. But if doctors were able to solve your child’s health issues in the NICU or shortly afterwards and there are no lasting effects, then your potential settlement could be lower. Your lawyer will always seek out the highest settlement possible.
Settlement Offers in a Fetal Monitoring Malpractice Case
When you contact a birth injury lawyer, they will first collect the evidence you have including medical records, witness statements, and photographs. They will then evaluate your non-economic (like pain and suffering) and economic damages (like your medical bills and future medical costs) and reach out to the defendant (the doctor/other healthcare professionals) to agree on a settlement. The defendant may try to offer a lower settlement, which you can always negotiate.
Typically, these cases never make it to the courtroom. Going to trial is costly and time-consuming, and a defendant could greatly damage their reputation if word got out about the trial. Plus, they might have to pay you a much higher settlement if they go to trial. Either way, whether you’re pursuing a settlement or a court case, your birth injury lawyer will do all the work for you.
Why Reach Out to a Birth Injury Lawyer?
You were wronged, and now you face very high medical bills. You’re scared for your child and need to do everything you can to take care of them at this moment. At the same time, you want to go after a settlement. Your birth injury lawyer will work hard on your behalf so you can relax and focus on your child’s care right now. It will give you some peace of mind during an otherwise incredibly stressful time.
Fetal Monitoring Malpractice Birth Injury Attorneys
If you believe your doctor or other healthcare professionals did not monitor your baby properly during labor, then call up Gilman & Bedigian to speak about medical malpractice. We’re here for you when you need us the most, and we’ll fight for you so you can get the compensation you deserve.
Contact Gilman & Bedigian 24/7 for a free consultation at (800) 529-6162.