Failure to Monitor Fetal Heart Rate
Experienced North Carolina Birth Injury Attorneys
Today, giving birth presents far fewer risks than it did even just 100 years ago. While there are still some minor risks, advances in medical technology have allowed for greater safety for both mothers and infants during labor and delivery.
One such technological advance, fetal heart rate monitoring, allows delivery room doctors, nurses, and staff to carefully track the infant’s vital signs, as well as identify and respond to indications of fetal distress. This is critical in preventing serious injuries and even deaths in the event of birth complications.
Unfortunately, medical negligence can and does occur. When doctors and other healthcare professionals fail to monitor an infant’s heart rate, they can miss critical signs of distress. At Lanier Law Group, we work to hold negligent medical providers accountable for these life-altering errors. If your child suffered injuries or complications due to a doctor’s failure to monitor the fetal heart rate, contact our North Carolina birth injury lawyers to discuss your legal rights and options.
The Effects of Failing to Monitor Fetal Heart Rate
Failure to monitor fetal heart rate leads delivery room doctors and nurses to miss signs of fetal distress. Fetal distress is most commonly associated with oxygen deprivation, which can lead to many serious and even life-threatening issues.
For example, high fetal heart rate can indicate hypoxia, or oxygen deprivation, as well as amniotic fluid infection and other problems. Low fetal heart rate, on the other hand, can point to problems such as placental abruption or uterine rupture, both of which can lead to oxygen deprivation. When an infant is not getting enough oxygen during labor/delivery, the doctor should immediately order an emergency C-section. Failure to do so can result in the baby suffering severe complications due to birth asphyxia, such as cerebral palsy, brain damage, seizures, and even death.
How Doctors Should Respond to Fetal Distress
When properly monitoring fetal heart rate, doctors and nurses can identify signs of infant oxygen deprivation and take swift action to address it.
Medical professionals are trained to take certain actions to limit fetal distress and birth injuries, including:
- Changing the mother’s position
- Reducing the frequency of contractions (typically with medications, like Pitocin)
- Providing the mother with oxygen and/or intravenous (IV) fluids
- Conducting an amnioinfusion (inserting isotonic fluid into the uterus)
- Stimulating the infant’s scalp (used to accelerate heart rate)
- Ordering and carrying out an emergency cesarean section
The last of these options, an emergency C-section, is generally the most effective. Once the baby has been removed from the uterus, doctors can begin conducting interventional procedures to resuscitate the child or treat birth asphyxia.
Contact Lanier Law Group for a Free Consultation
If you believe your child suffered as a result of a medical professional’s failure to monitor fetal heart rate in North Carolina, Lanier Law Group can help. We understand the immense difficulties you have already been through, as well as the challenges you still face. Our birth injury attorneys have decades of experience helping injured children, parents, and families seek fair and just compensation from negligent medical professionals.
We offer free initial consultations and contingency fees. There is absolutely no risk in speaking to an attorney at our firm about your potential birth injury case. We encourage you to reach out to us as soon as possible, as there are time limits to file a claim.