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Michigan Delayed Diagnosis of Fetal Distress Attorney

Fetal distress is a sign your baby is not well. Fetal distress happens when your baby is not receiving enough oxygen through the placenta. Fetal distress is a potentially serious condition with a broad set of symptoms that is unfortunately not well-defined – even among doctors and medical professionals. As such, fetal distress is often misdiagnosed or not diagnosed, leading to no treatment or improper treatment, resulting in catastrophic injury.

If your baby suffered a delayed diagnosis of fetal distress and was catastrophically injured the Buchanan Firm can review your child’s medical records and provide answers. If we determine your baby’s injury was due to medical malpractice or medical negligence, our Michigan birth injury attorneys will seek fair and just compensation for the injury your child sustained at birth.

What is Fetal Distress?

Fetal distress is a complication that occurs when a baby does not get adequate oxygen during pregnancy or labor.  Because the term has been poorly defined in the past, fetal distress is now often referred to as “non-reassuring fetal status”. Fetal distress is characterized by fetal movement changes, fetal growth, fetal heart rate, and the presence of meconium-stained fluid.

Fetal distress is detected by an abnormal fetal heart rate pattern. Most fetal distress is detected when a woman is in labor and connected to an electronic fetal heart monitor, which continuously monitors a fetus’ heart rate. A healthy fetal heart rate should be between 110 and 160 beats per minute. There are different types of heart rate abnormalities, that may indicate a fetus is in distress including:

  • Fetal tachycardia – abnormally fast heart rate (a heart rate higher than 160 beats per minute)
  • Fetal bradycardia – abnormally slow heart rate (a heart rate less than 110 beats per minute)
  • Variable decelerations – a sudden decrease in the fetal heart rate (usually when the decline is greater than or equal to 15 beats per minute and lasts for longer than 15 seconds – but less than 2 minutes from the onset to return of baseline rate)
  • Late decelerations – an asymmetric fall in the fetal heart rate, beginning or after the peak of a contraction, and returning to baseline only after the contraction has ended

If an abnormality in fetal heart rate is detected during labor, healthcare providers can attempt to correct the fetal distress by:

  • Giving the laboring mother supplemental oxygen;
  • Increasing IV fluids for the laboring mother;
  • Changing the laboring mother’s position (turning her on one side or the other); and/or
  • Administering medications that subdue contractions and maximize placental blood flow.

If you experienced any of these interventions during labor, your baby may have been in fetal distress.

What Causes Fetal Distress?

 Fetal distress can be caused by many factors. Common causes of fetal distress include:

  • Prolonged pregnancy (lasting over 40 weeks);
  • Preeclampsia;
  • Placental abruption;
  • Intrauterine growth restriction;
  • Too much or too little amniotic fluid;
  • Labor complications – going too quickly or lasting too long;
  • Umbilical cord compression;
  • Umbilical cord entanglement;
  • Umbilical cord prolapse;
  • Staying in one position for a long period of time during labor;

The medical professionals involved in your pregnancy and labor should be aware of these risk factors for fetal distress. It is important to talk to your obstetrician about risk factors, to ensure safe labor and delivery of your baby.

What Are the Consequences of Delayed Diagnosis of Fetal Distress?

If a baby is not properly monitored throughout pregnancy and labor, physicians and other medical professionals may not know the fetus is in distress. A failure to properly diagnose and promptly treat fetal distress  can result in a number of complications, such as:

  • Brain injury
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Motor impairment
  • Hearing and visual impairment
  • Seizure disorders
  • Mental health disabilities

Furthermore, if your child is suffering cerebral palsy due to a delayed diagnosis, please contact our Michigan cerebral palsy attorneys A delayed diagnosis of fetal distress can also affect the pregnant mother as well. If fetal distress is detected too late, a laboring mother may have to undergo an emergency cesarean section in order to remove the baby. If you or your loved one experienced an emergency c-section, or your child was rushed to NICU after labor and delivery, the baby may have suffered complications from delayed diagnosis of fetal distress. It is important to contact the experienced Buchanan Firm birth injury team to determine if medical professionals made errors resulting in delayed treatment of fetal distress. You or your baby could be entitled to compensation for damages resulting from the labor and delivery team’s errors.

The Buchanan Firm Birth Injury Team

A birth injury claim involving delayed diagnosis of fetal distress can be a complicated claim. Your family needs a team who successfully pursues birth injury claims, and can give you real answers without delay. That includes answers from qualified medical experts who are involved in the labor and delivery of babies.

At Buchanan Firm, we understand the importance of having a trusted legal team with extensive medical malpractice/birth injury knowledge. We also know it is important to receive answers right away – that’s why our team has birth injury medical experts only a phone or Zoom call away.  Our dedicated birth injury team, with the help of trusted medical advisors, gives us the ability to make quick, yet comprehensive medical evaluations on cases involving delayed diagnosis of fetal distress.  If you believe your child was injured as a result of a delayed diagnosis of fetal distress, don’t delay, call the Buchanan Firm birth injury team for answers.

Contact Us Today

If your child was catastrophically injured as a result of a delay in diagnosis of fetal distress during labor and delivery, call the Buchanan Firm today. Our medical malpractice attorneys in Michigan want to give you answers and give you the support you and your child deserve. Our injury lawyers in Grand Rapids provide a free, initial, confidential evaluation. If we believe the delay in diagnosis of fetal distress was due to an error by a healthcare provider involved in the labor and delivery, we will seek just and fair compensation for your child.