As a new parent, when it comes to your newborn’s health, all you want to hear from your doctor is that everything is normal. If your doctor tells you that your child has a low Apgar score, this will understandably be cause for concern. While a low Apgar score is not necessarily indicative of future health risks, this is a possibility. As a result, you will want to learn more about your child’s health, and you will also want to speak with a Connecticut low Apgar scores lawyer to find out if your child’s condition is the result of medical malpractice. A birth injury attorney could help you understand your legal options.
The Apgar newborn health assessment is a test that is used to assess a newborn’s health at one and five minutes after birth. As explained by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), “The 1-minute score determines how well the baby tolerated the birthing process. The 5-minute score tells the health care provider how well the baby is doing outside the mother’s womb.” If a newborn’s 5-minute Apgar score is low, the test may be repeated at two or three additional five-minute intervals.
An Apgar score is designed to assess a newborn’s vital signs after delivery. Specifically, the Apgar newborn health assessment examines:
In each of these categories, the newborn is given a score of 0, 1, or 2, for a possible total score of 10. Scores of 7, 8, and 9 are all considered normal. Anything below a score of 7 is considered “low,” with a lower score indicating a higher risk of health complications.
A low Apgar score is not a diagnosis. On its own, an Apgar score does not say anything about your child’s health. However, a low Apgar score can be indicative of a number of potential health risks, and health care providers should follow up on low Apgar scores promptly with appropriate testing and treatment.
There are a number of different factors that can potentially cause a newborn to have a low Apgar score. For example, some of the most common factors linked to low Apgar scores include:
Unfortunately, yes. In many cases, low Apgar scores will be linked to medical mistakes during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. This includes mistakes such as:
The risks associated with low Apgar scores vary widely. In some cases, a low Apgar score will not translate into any health complications. However, the issues that result in a low Apgar score can also lead to complications including brain injuries, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), and some forms of palsy.
As a parent, learning that your child will have to live his or her life with a brain injury, palsy, or other complication from childbirth can be devastating. It can be even more devastating if the complication is the result of a medical mistake. Fortunately, Connecticut law allows parents to hold their health care providers accountable in many cases.
If your child’s low Apgar score is the result of a medical mistake such as an inaccurate diagnosis, prolonged labor, or delivery error, you should speak with an attorney. At Berkowitz Hanna, our attorneys have decades of experience representing families who are struggling to cope with the consequences of low Apgar scores. We can thoroughly assess your family’s legal rights, refer you to a qualified specialist in Connecticut, and work to recover any financial compensation to which your family may be legally entitled.
While each family’s circumstances are different, most families are able to seek financial compensation for the same types of losses in medical malpractice cases involving low Apgar scores. This includes compensation for past, present, and future:
If you are concerned about your newborn’s health because he or she received a low Apgar score, you should seek professional medical help right away. You should also speak with a Connecticut low Apgar score lawyer about your family’s legal rights as soon as possible. If your child is diagnosed with a disabling condition as a result of an issue prior to or during childbirth, the costs could be substantial, and you could be entitled to full coverage for your family’s medical expenses and other losses due to medical negligence.
If you have questions about your child’s low Apgar score, one of the trusted attorneys at Berkowitz Hanna would be happy to speak with you in confidence. To schedule a free initial consultation, contact us today.