What is Fetal Monitoring in regards to Medical Malpractice

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There are many indications that an infant may be in fetal distress. When a doctor fails to perform critical medical procedures that will preserve a baby’s health and mobility, the doctor may be negligent. Birth injuries often result in life-long impairment that may require extensive medical treatment. When a doctor’s negligence causes a newborn’s injury, the parents may be able to sue the hospital or doctor for medical malpractice. 

Fetal Monitoring

A doctor must monitor the fetal heartbeat for any irregularities. Abnormal heartbeats may indicate that the fetus is suffering from oxygen deprivation and in distress. Failure to act immediately may cause the infant to suffer severe organ or brain damage. The doctor may be required to make a quick decision to perform a caesarean section to prevent harm to the baby. Circumstances that warrant an emergency caesarian section include:

  • Abnormal fetal positioning
  • Aspiration of amniotic fluid and fecal material
  • Lack of oxygen or blood supply to infant’s brain
  • Umbilical cord wrapped around infant’s neck
  • Compressed umbilical cord
  • Abnormally placed placenta

Negligence Due to Doctor’s Failure to Plan

A pregnant woman places a great deal of trust in her obstetrician to closely monitor not only her health, but the health of her unborn child as well. Failure to provide adequate care to a patient may be grounds for a patient to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Obstetricians should schedule a glucose-screening test for women when they are between 24 and 28 weeks pregnant. This test can detect the presence of gestational diabetes, which puts a woman at risk for giving birth to an infant who is large for gestational age (LGA).

A doctor monitors the development of the fetus by conducting an ultrasound scan. The ultrasound allows the doctor to determine the size of the fetus. An LGA infant may pose a risk to the mother during delivery. If a doctor is aware that the woman is pregnant with an LGA baby, it is likely that a caesarean section will be medically necessary to preserve the health of the mother and her baby. An infant that is LGA may become lodged in the birth canal while the mother is in labor, putting the infant at risk of:

  • Shoulder dystocia (occurs when the baby’s shoulder is obstructed by the mother’s pubic bone)
  • Erb’s palsy (paralysis of the baby’s arm caused by shoulder dystocia)
  • Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (brain receives insufficient levels of oxygen)
  • Birth asphyxia (oxygen deprivation that may lead to brain injury and damage to nervous system)
  • Cerebral palsy (caused by injuries to the baby’s brain)
  • Leukomalacia (white-matter brain injury)

Birth Injury May Require Long-Term Medical Care

A doctor’s negligence during a woman’s pregnancy and delivery can cause significant birth injuries that subject a child to a lifetime of medical care. If you suspect that a doctor’s error has resulted in your child’s injury, contact the Weltchek Mallahan & Weltchek law firm of Baltimore, Maryland immediately. You may be able to sue the doctor or hospital for medical malpractice and recover sufficient damages that will provide for your child’s long-term health needs.

Who Can You Trust with Your Case?

Have you or a loved one been injured due to negligence? We want to help. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you believe you have a case; time is an important factor. Interested in learning more? Get in touch with us so we can better evaluate and serve your needs in getting the justice your loved one deserves. You may very well be entitled to compensation.


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