Fetal Monitoring Errors

What is Fetal Monitoring?

Doctors and other medical staff members use a fetal monitor to detect any signs of fetal distress when the baby’s supply of oxygen is compromised. Detecting the symptoms early allows a woman’s doctor to act quickly in order to prevent harm to the child.

There are two types of fetal monitoring: internal, where an electrode is attached to the baby’s scalp once the mother is dilated between two and three centimeters; and external, where a belt is strapped around the mother’s abdomen to record the unborn child’s heart rate and the mother’s contractions.

What are the signs of fetal distress?

While monitoring a baby, medical practitioners are looking out for reassuring or nonreassuring heart rate patterns. A normal heart rate is between 110 and 160 beats per minute. During the mother’s contractions, it’s not unusual for there to be fluctuations in an unborn baby’s heart rate due. If the pattern is not out of the ordinary, the doctor or nurse considers it “reassuring,” meaning the child is receiving sufficient oxygen and is able to withstand labor and delivery.

When the baby experiences a heart rate above 160 beats per minute or below 110 beats per minute for extended periods of time, it is considered “nonreassuring.” A nonreassuring pattern signals that the child is under distress, and the medical team must take the appropriate steps to minimize harm to the mother and child.

What Constitutes Improper Fetal Monitoring?

Negligence on the part of medical professionals can lead to fetal monitoring errors, such as:

  • failure to identify abnormal fetal heart rate
  • failure to determine whether a mother requires more frequent monitoring
  • failure to take immediate action when signs of fetal distress have been recognized
  • failure to decipher between the mother’s heart rate and the baby’s heart rate
  • failure to use the fetal monitor properly

When one or more of these failures occur, delivery complications and birth injuries may result.

What Happens to a Child Who is Improperly Monitored Inside the Womb?

A variety of health complications can result when a fetal monitoring error takes place in the delivery room, including:

  • brain damage
  • developmental delays
  • cerebral palsy
  • placenta detaching from the uterus
  • hypoxia/apoxia
  • paralysis
  • stillbirth

Contact Thurswell Law

If your child has suffered due to a physician’s negligence in fetal monitoring, you may have a medical malpractice case. Contact Thurswell Law so you and your family can secure the monetary compensation you deserve. We won’t charge unless you collect. Call and schedule a free consultation today at (248) 354-2222.

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