Has Your Child Been Injured as a Result of Fetal Distress?
Fetal distress is a term used to describe the signs and symptoms that your baby may not be well and could, potentially be suffering from an injury. Fetal distress is typically a sign that your baby is suffering from potential loss of oxygen (a condition called hypoxia) which can have severe and lasting effects on a child. If your child has been injured as a result of fetal distress, you may want to consider getting advice from a Halifax birth injury lawyer who can tell you if the conditions causing the fetal distress, and the resulting injury, could have been prevented.
Fetal distress can cause serious, long-term complications. How is it diagnosed and treated? What are your family’s rights if your child was injured because fetal distress was improperly diagnosed or treated? When should parents contact a Halifax medical malpractice lawyer?
You’ll find the answers to these questions below. But if your own child has been injured because fetal distress was wrongly diagnosed or treated, you should contact a Halifax birth injury lawyer.
What Is Fetal Distress? What Causes It?
Fetal distress happens when a fetus exhibits signs of physical distress late in a pregnancy or during labour. Fetal distress can happen for a number of reasons, including labour itself, reactions to medications, or problems with the placenta or umbilical cord.
Fetal distress can be dangerous and may cause a number of complications. A prolonged lack of oxygen during delivery, for example, can cause a permanent brain injury that leads to cerebral palsy. Conditions that may cause fetal distress include:
- Lack of oxygen
- Fetal anemia
- Low amniotic fluid
- Abnormally low or high blood pressure
- Late-term pregnancy beyond 41 weeks
- Fetal growth restriction
- Placental abruption or placental previa
- Compression of the umbilical cord
- Diabetes, kidney disease, or heart disease.
How Do Doctors Diagnose Fetal Distress?
It is important for physicians to monitor the fetus throughout pregnancy to detect any potential complications. During labour, doctors diagnose fetal distress by monitoring the fetal heart rate with one of these devices:
- An electronic fetal heart rate monitor may be worn around the mother’s belly during labor and delivery. It sends fetal heart sounds to a computer for the doctor to observe.
- A doctor places a hand-held Doppler device on the mother’s belly. The device uses sound waves to monitor the fetal heart rate.
When a doctor or a delivery team does not recognize or promptly react to signs of fetal distress, it can go undetected, sometimes with tragic consequences.
How Do Doctors Treat Fetal Distress?
An obstetrician or obstetric nurse may try to address the symptoms of fetal distress by:
- Asking the mother to move to a different position (to increase oxygen to the fetus)
- Giving the mother oxygen through an oxygen mask
- Giving the mother intravenous fluid
- Giving the mother medicine to stop or slow contractions
- Amnioinfusion (placing fluid in the amniotic sac to ease umbilical cord compression)
However, when fetal distress becomes dangerous, a baby may need to be delivered promptly through the use of forceps or a vacuum extractor or by performing a c-section.
Is Your Child a Victim of Medical Malpractice?
Failing to monitor the fetal heart rate and the mother’s contractions, a delayed diagnosis or a failure to diagnose fetal distress, or failing to take emergency action when that action is warranted may constitute medical malpractice.
If an obstetrician or nurse failed to take the proper steps to prevent or relieve fetal distress, and if your child was injured as a result of that failure, you and your child may have a strong medical malpractice claim, and you should schedule a case evaluation at once with a Halifax medical malpractice lawyer.
That lawyer may ask experts to review the delivery records and other medical evidence to determine if the doctor and/or delivery team are responsible for the injuries your child suffered from fetal distress.
When Should Parents Contact a Birth Injury Lawyer?
Plenty of lawyers in Nova Scotia handle personal injury claims like car accidents. Very few handle medical malpractice cases, and only a small handful of lawyers possess the knowledge, resources, training, and experience to represent parents who have a medical malpractice claim related to fetal distress.
If your child has suffered an injury because of fetal distress, you must arrange at once to meet with a birth injury lawyer who will fight aggressively on your family’s behalf by filing a medical malpractice birth trauma claim.
When a fetal distress-related injury or medical condition was caused by medical malpractice, a family has the right to recover compensation for their child’s additional medical treatment and related expenses and the extraordinary costs of raising a severely disabled child, along with the potential loss of future income the child may lose as a result of not being able to work.
What Will a Birth Injury Lawyer Do on Your Family’s Behalf?
A birth injury lawyer will explain how the law applies in your family’s own case, provide you with the personalized legal advice you need, protect your family’s rights, and identify the party or parties that have liability for your child’s condition.
If you decide to file a birth injury claim, your lawyer will retain multiple medical experts necessary to prove that a birth injury happened, that it was caused by negligence, and what the economic consequences of the injury have been, and will be in the future.
A birth injury lawyer will negotiate for the compensation that your family is entitled to under the law.
If no reasonable settlement amount is offered during the private negotiations, your lawyer will ask a Nova Scotia court to order that your child receive compensation.
What Will It Cost Your Family to Win Justice?
Your family may be facing costly medical bills due to fetal distress and its consequences, but you can’t let that keep you from seeking justice for your child. A birth injury lawyer in Halifax will not charge a fee unless and until that lawyer recovers the compensation you need.
Your lawyer will be paid a percentage of the amount you receive, and if you’re not compensated for any reason, you will owe nothing. Furthermore, if the claim is settled, the court will review the settlement, and the proposed legal fees to make sure that the settlement is fair and the legal fees are reasonable.
A free case evaluation is provided without obligation to parents whose children have been victimized by fetal distress-related medical malpractice.
Nothing is more important than your child. If your child has suffered a birth injury because of medical negligence, it’s up to you to take the first step and reach out to a Nova Scotia medical malpractice lawyer at once.