When you are pregnant, you trust your doctor with your life, as well as the life, health and future of your unborn baby. Sometimes, however, doctors make mistakes that can have a devastating impact on your future. After all, they are only human. When mistakes result in serious birth injuries, however, you have the right to explore options for compensation.
Birth injuries, including cerebral palsy, can often result from inadequate fetal monitoring. Knowing how your unborn baby is dealing with the stress of labor allows medical professionals to know when intervention is necessary to ensure health and survival. Failing to monitor the infant properly can result in devastating birth injuries or loss of your child.
What is fetal monitoring?
After your unborn baby reaches a certain size, it is very difficult for professionals to use ultrasound to determine sex, condition or even position within your body. They must rely on other means of monitoring your baby through the labor and delivery process. There are several kinds of fetal monitoring common during labor, including checking your child with a specialized stethoscope.
However, your doctor typically can't stay next to you, listening to your child's heartbeat throughout the many hours of labor. There are now special sensors which get placed against your stomach to track the baby's heart rate and your contractions. The constant tracking of these two critical functions ensures that your baby is not in distress. Doctors and nurses can check these sensors while in the room or via a remote monitor.
Sometimes, when your cervix is dilated and the amniotic sac has ruptured, doctors will use an internal sensor inserted through your cervix and attached to the baby's scalp to track his or her heartbeat. Regardless of what method they use, your doctors and nurses should be checking regularly to ensure your child handles the stress of labor well.
Failing to intervene can have tragic results
There are a host of reasons why fetal monitoring fails. In some cases, the device may end up positioned improperly, recording your heartbeat instead of your child's. Other times, the device could malfunction, resulting in inaccurate information about your child's heartbeat. Many times, however, the issue is a result of human error. Doctors or nurses may fail to notice the early signs of distress in your baby, putting your unborn child at risk of severe complications or death.
Other times, due to a heavy workload or other reasons, medical professionals may fail to regularly check and analyze the information gathered by the monitor. This puts both mother and child at unnecessary risk. Inadequate fetal monitoring could result in a doctor overlooking obvious signs of distress, which could have catastrophic consequences for the mother and child involved.