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Fetal distress, which is also called nonreassuring fetal status, occurs when a baby does not have adequate oxygen, and it can lead to different issues that happen before or during childbirth. Various factors can cause fetal distress including preeclampsia, uncontrolled diabetes, Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), too much amniotic fluid, a pregnancy that goes beyond 40 weeks, staying in a certain position during birth for too long, an abnormal position of the fetus, a labor that goes too quickly or is taking too long, prolapsed umbilical cord, placental abruption, shoulder dystocia, and low or high levels of amniotic fluid.
In order to lower the risks of a baby experiencing fetal distress, a mother can go to all her appointments and let the doctor know about any changes in fetal activity, such as the number of kicks she’s feeling. It’s especially important for a mother to keep up with her appointments if she has a condition like preeclampsia or any other health issues. For example, fetal distress is more likely to occur if a mother has kidney disease, cholestastis, diabetes, or high blood pressure. If she is obese or a smoker, she has a multiple pregnancy or she’s had a stillbirth before, then the chances are higher as well.
Symptoms of Fetal Distress
The symptoms and signs of fetal distress include:
- Increased or decreased heart rate in the fetus
- Less fetal movement in the mother
- Meconium in the amniotic fluid
- Fetal lactic or metabolic acidosis
A doctor will diagnosis a baby with fetal distress if something irregular is happening on the continuous fetal monitor. Additionally, they can perform a nonstress test, perform a biophysical profile, and do an ultrasound.
If fetal distress is left untreated, then the following could occur:
- Brain damage
- Infant hypoxia
- Cerebral palsy
- Organ failure
A doctor will also need to diagnose conditions like hypoxia and cerebral palsy and then put your baby on a treatment plan.
Treatment for Fetal Distress
If a doctor believes that fetal distress is occurring, then they may give a mother fluids and oxygen and instruct her to move. She may have to turn onto one side in order to reduce the distress. If a mother’s contractions are going too fast, then she might need medication in order to slow them down. If she took drugs to speed up her labor, then the doctor may stop administering them.
A baby may have to be delivered as quickly as possible, which could mean extracting them with a vacuum or forceps, or by giving the mother an emergency C-section.
If a baby does not receive the proper treatment for fetal distress, then unfortunately, treatment for conditions like cerebral palsy and brain damage is not simple. A child may have to take medications like sedatives and anticonvulsants, use medical equipment like crutches to move around, attend regular occupational and physical therapy appointments, and have caregivers to help them in school and at home. If their condition is severe, they could have to undergo one or multiple surgeries. They may need treatment for the rest of their life.
How Do I Know if Medical Malpractice Caused Fetal Distress?
While you think that medical malpractice may have led to fetal distress, you’re not sure. Perhaps you believe that your doctor delayed a C-section and by the time they performed it, it was too late. Maybe you needed a C-section but they did a vaginal delivery instead, or they weren’t monitoring your baby continuously throughout your labor.
There’s no way to know if medical malpractice occurred unless you get in touch with an expert, a birth injury malpractice lawyer. They will examine the facts of your case and let you know if malpractice may have contributed to your baby’s fetal distress.
Typically, medical malpractice is difficult to prove because the legal system makes it that way. If it were easy to prove medical malpractice, people would sue their doctors all the time, and then nobody would want to become a doctor out of fear of going bankrupt. You need sufficient evidence to show that malpractice and negligence did in fact happen.
How Much Will I Receive From a Fetal Distress Settlement?
When you reach out to a birth injury lawyer, you may ask them how much money you could expect to receive from your fetal distress settlement. While they can’t predict the amount, they will calculate your damages for you, which are economic and non-economic and could include:
- Medical bills
- Loss of companionship and enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Future medical care
- Loss of earning capacity
The amount of your possible settlement will depend on how high your damages end up being.
Settlement Offers in a Fetal Distress Case
The way the process will go is that your birth injury lawyer will ask you what evidence you have of medical malpractice including your medical records, photographs of your baby’s injuries, and witness statements. Your lawyer will be happy to help you gather any evidence you don’t have in order to strengthen your case.
Then, they will contact the defendant, your doctor, and attempt to reach a settlement for you. The doctor may be willing to settle because they don’t want to waste time and energy and risk tarnishing their reputation in a court of law. They also may negotiate a lower settlement or refuse to settle at all. You can decide what you want to do and if you would like your lawyer to renegotiate or go to court. No matter what route you go, your lawyer will work hard for you every step of the way.
Why Reach Out to a Birth Injury Lawyer?
You deserve compensation, but you don’t have the ability to start up a medical malpractice case or negotiate with your doctor on your own. A lawyer can do all that for you so you don’t have to worry about your medical bills and other damages. While your lawyer is fighting for you, you can relax and recover as well as ensure your baby is receiving the best care possible at this time.
Fetal Distress Birth Injury Attorneys
If you believe that medical malpractice led to your baby’s fetal distress, then you can get in touch with the birth injury lawyers at Gilman & Bedigian. We will help you with your case and work hard to get you the compensation that’s rightfully yours. Don’t wait. Reach out today.
Contact Gilman & Bedigian 24/7 for a free consultation at (800) 529-6162.