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Filing a Birth Injury Claim When a Doctor Fails to Monitor Fetal Heartbeat

Michael Becker

You may be entitled to compensation through a birth injury claim in Cleveland if a doctor’s mistake led to your child’s injuries. Elyria birth injury attorneys can evaluate the details of your case carefully to determine if you have a valid claim.

Failure to Monitor Fetal Heartbeat

One type of doctor’s mistake that can be life-threatening or fatal is to fail to monitor a baby’s heartbeat during labor and delivery. Between 120 and 160 beats per minute (BPM) is considered to be a normal baseline fetal heart rate.

For the most part this will remain steady. However, once contractions begin, it can decelerate from the normal baseline rate. Doctors need to be sure it doesn’t decelerate to a point of danger, which is why constant monitoring is so important.

Early deceleration is when the heart rate drops 20 to 30 BPM below the baseline while the mother experiences a contraction. This is to be expected and not a cause for alarm.

There may be a cause for concern, however, if the drops in the heart rate take place at the end of a contraction. This is known as late deceleration and can be caused by low oxygen. Compromised oxygen could be a sign of fetal distress. At this point a doctor will need to take steps in order to ensure the baby is OK.

Variable decelerations occur during a variety of times, sometimes during a contraction or between one. There also may be differences in the duration and severity of the heart rate drops. This is even more serious as it could be a sign of hypoxia (lack of oxygen) due to the umbilical cord being compressed.

Babies who are in a breech position have an increased risk of experiencing a drop in heart rate. Failure to turn the baby or to perform an emergency Caesarean section could lead to a birth injury such as cerebral palsy.

Monitoring the fetal heartbeat also can help detect tachycardia (heartbeat is faster than it should be) and acidosis (increased acidity in the blood and other tissues). Additionally, it can reduce the risk of the baby suffering seizures.

While some changes in heart rates are to be expected during labor and delivery, doctors need to be aware of signals that indicate a potential problem. When a doctor fails to do so and it leads to serious injuries, then he or she may be held liable.

Damages in a Birth Injury Claim in Cleveland

The negligence of a doctor could lead you to file a birth injury claim. You may then be entitled to recover damages related to the injuries your child has suffered. This could include medical expenses, lifelong medical treatment and care, special education, loss of income, disability, and pain and suffering.

With the help of Elyria birth injury attorneys, you can determine if medical negligence was the cause of your child’s suffering. They will assist you in collecting the evidence that will help demonstrate the cause of your child’s injuries.

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