When a pregnant mother goes into labor, it is extremely important for her obstetrician and every other medical professional involved in her care to monitor the condition of the fetus closely and regularly. This is typically done through electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) devices, which track the heart rate of the fetus as well as its response to uterine contractions, but whatever the specific methodology, those healthcare providers are expected to promptly identify potential problems and take corrective action when necessary.
Fetal monitoring errors in Connecticut are a particularly common contributing factor to birth injuries, and they are very often part of a pattern of irresponsible behavior that constitutes medical malpractice. If you believe your child suffered preventable physical harm because your doctors did not monitor their condition adequately during your labor, you should speak with a malpractice lawyer at Berkowitz Hanna about your legal options.
As mentioned above, the chief concern for doctors monitoring the condition of a fetus during labor is the consistency and strength of the fetal heart rate. If the heart rate is slower or faster than normal, takes a long time to return to normal after decelerating, or changes patterns seemingly at random, it may be a sign that the fetus is in distress due to a cutoff in its oxygen supply or some other problem which the monitoring physicians should diagnose and address quickly.
Failure to respond appropriately to signs of fetal distress can lead to the baby suffering brain damage due to asphyxia, which in turn can lead to them developing conditions like cerebral palsy or suffering from a host of other physical and cognitive dysfunctions after being born. In the worst-case scenario, fetal monitoring errors in Connecticut can contribute to causing permanent disfigurement, disability, or even a stillbirth.
It is worth noting that while fetal monitoring errors can and often do qualify as irresponsible behavior, they very rarely rise to the level of legally actionable malpractice all by themselves. In order to file suit against a physician for causing a preventable birth injury, the parent(s) pursuing the claim must be able to prove that the defendant physician’s actions constituted a violation of the “standard of care” which would be expected of all equally qualified physicians working under identical or similar conditions.
A single incorrect reading of test results or missed signal of fetal distress may not be considered an egregious enough mistake to meet this high standard, but a pattern of irresponsible behavior that includes mistakes in fetal monitoring potentially could be. An experienced malpractice lawyer can offer guidance about how state law governs situations like this, what evidence may be necessary to construct a strong civil claim over a birth injury stemming from a fetal monitoring error, and what course of action is most appropriate for a particular family.
Even if you receive the best possible care from skilled and dedicated doctors, the process of childbirth can still be extremely stressful for both you and your baby. However, that does not mean there is not a great deal physicians can and should do to minimize physical and psychological stress for both of you, and a failure to keep a close eye on your baby’s condition throughout your labor may not meet that standard of care.
Taking legal action over fetal monitoring errors in Connecticut is not something you want to try doing on your own. Contact us at Berkowitz Hanna today to learn how we can help.