Ohio Birth Negligence Attorneys Pursue Claims Against Negligent Medical Professionals
Signs of fetal distress should be addressed immediately by medical professionals
Throughout pregnancy, labor, and delivery, women should be regularly examined by a medical team to ensure they and their babies are healthy. During some pregnancies, a baby may exhibit signs of fetal distress that need to be resolved immediately. Unfortunately, some medical professionals fail to recognize signs of fetal distress or fail to treat them with the urgency they deserve. If a baby or its mother is injured due to a medical professional’s negligence, a birth negligence claim may be appropriate. At The Eisen Law Firm, our Ohio medical malpractice lawyers are experienced in birth injury claims and work hard to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. For more than 40 years, Ohio residents have trusted us to obtain justice and compensation for devastating birth injuries.
What does “fetal distress” mean?
The term “fetal distress” is actually a broad term that does not have one universal definition. What constitutes “distress” can be dependent on the context. Generally speaking, however, the term fetal distress is used to describe a baby that is not receiving enough oxygen during pregnancy or labor.
For decades, obstetricians and obstetrical nurses used the term fetal distress without too much difficulty. The term is reasonably descriptive. It refers to a fetus that is not doing well. There can be all kinds of reasons why a fetus is in distress, but when the term is used everyone knows one thing: the baby needs help.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (“ACOG”) is an education and advocacy group made up of OB/GYNs. ACOG never really liked the term “fetal distress” because most people who hear the term think (correctly) that a baby in distress needs help. When a baby is in distress and no help is given, ACOG’s members sometimes are held accountable in a court of law. ACOG doesn’t like that. It therefore began several years ago to push for a change in the way doctors talk about fetal distress. ACOG proposed that its members stop referring to “fetal distress” in patient’s charts an instead refer to “non-reassuring fetal status.” “Non-reassuring fetal status” sounds much less worrisome than “fetal distress.” But folks shouldn’t be fooled: when a baby is in trouble and needs help, help should be given, no matter what it’s called.
How are babies monitored for signs of “distress” or “non-reassuring status”?
Obstetricians use electronic fetal heart rate monitoring (EFM) to look for signs that the fetus is not doing well. EFM equipment can monitor the baby’s heart rate constantly, as well as any contractions the mother is having. And it can look at how the baby’s heart rate changes during maternal contractions.
When administered properly, fetal heart rate monitoring may detect:
Inadequate oxygen or hypoxia in the baby
Heart rate changes, either spontaneous changes or changes due to maternal contractions
An increase or decrease in frequency and intensity of contractions
It is critical that physicians and nurses involved in caring for women during labor and delivery understand how to interpret electronic fetal monitor data correctly. Failing to intervene when a baby is in distress can have disastrous consequences. Similarly, intervening when the data are actually reassuring can result in unnecessary Caesarean sections or other potentially risky medical procedures.
What if my physician missed signs of distress?
The average labor ranges from six to twelve hours, and fetal distress can develop at any point during labor and delivery. Fetal distress can develop quickly, so medical professionals need to know how to spot it and take action to relieve the distress or delivery the baby as soon as possible.
If your baby was injured, and you believe that the cause was a delay in recognizing or treating fetal distress, you should meet with an experienced birth negligence attorney as soon as possible to discuss your claim.
The damages in a birth negligence claim may include the following:
Past medical bills
The cost of future medical care
Lost future wages
The expense of hiring in-home nurses or other medical staff
The cost of medical equipment
Pain and suffering
Other damages may also be available, depending on the facts of the case. To ensure you recover as much compensation as possible in your claim, you should seek the assistance of an experienced birth injury attorney.
The Eisen Law Firm can identify where negligence has occurred by studying medical records and other types of evidence. For over forty years, we have focused our law practice on birth injury and medical malpractice issues.
If you need assistance with a birth injury claim, contact The Eisen Law Firm
At The Eisen Law Firm, our Ohio medical malpractice attorneys are experienced in birth negligence claims of all types. In fact, The Eisen Law Firm has handled cases involving fetal distress and recently settled a case for $8,000,000.00. To schedule your free consultation with our highly qualified attorneys, call 216-687-0900 or visit us online.