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Fetal Monitoring Failure

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Fetal monitoring is a critical part of the labor and delivery process. A fetal monitor can help a doctor or nurse ensure that the baby is not in distress. In addition to labor and delivery, fetal monitoring may be done throughout pregnancy to ensure that your child’s heart rate is normal.

At Bailey Cowan Heckaman, our lawyers understand how critical fetal monitoring is to a healthy delivery. When a healthcare provider fails to monitor a fetus, they may miss signs of distress that can lead to serious harm. If your baby suffered trauma at birth as a result of a doctor’s failure to conduct fetal monitoring, contact our office at (888) 367-7160 for a free consultation.

What Is Fetal Monitoring?

Fetal monitoring is one way that a healthcare provider can ensure that your baby is healthy. Fetal monitoring checks the baby’s heart rate for any abnormalities. A fetus with an abnormal or irregular heartbeat may indicate that there is a problem such as that they are not receiving enough oxygen or are in distress.

Types of fetal monitoring:

  • External monitoring - External fetal monitoring is done on the outside of the abdomen. A device such as a fetoscope (similar to a stethoscope) may be used by the doctor to listen to your child’s heartbeat. Other forms of external monitoring include using a doppler ultrasound. A doppler ultrasound may be handheld or it can be used continuously via a strap placed around the stomach.
  • Internal monitoring - Internal fetal monitoring is when a doctor or other medical provider places a wire or electrode on your child’s head while they are still in the womb. It is less common and generally done after a woman’s water has broken.

Fetal monitoring may be done periodically referred to as auscultation or continuously with electronic fetal monitoring.

When Is Fetal Monitoring Done?

Fetal monitoring is usually performed throughout the labor and delivery process to detect any signs of fetal distress. Heart rate monitoring may also be conducted during prenatal checkups. 

What Happens If the Baby's Heart Rate Is Abnormal?

If the fetal heart rate is abnormal (the normal heart rate for a fetus is 110 to 160 beats per minute) it may be a sign of a problem. A doctor may order additional tests to determine if the baby is in distress and what is causing the baby’s heartbeat to be irregular. One of the most common reasons a baby’s heart rate is abnormal is that they are not getting enough oxygen.

A doctor may need to order a cesarean section (c-section) to ensure that the baby is not in distress for a long period of time. Fetal distress caused by things such as a lack of oxygen can result in brain damage, paralysis, and stillbirth - especially when misdiagnosed

Types of Fetal Monitoring Failures

Fetal monitoring is crucial, particularly during the labor and delivery process. A failure to monitor the fetus’s heart rate can result in a devastating birth injury. A healthcare professional must not only monitor for signs of fetal distress, but they must also take action if the monitoring suggests a problem.

Types of fetal monitoring failures include:

  • Failure to continuously monitor a fetus
  • Failure to order a necessary c-section 
  • Failure to act at signs of fetal distress or complications
  • Failure to monitor during prenatal visits
  • Failure to monitor routinely in high-risk pregnancies

If you suspect that your infant sustained harm because a doctor or nurse failed to monitor for fetal distress, you should speak with a qualified attorney. You might be entitled to compensation to cover your child’s medical bills, pain and suffering, and more.

What to Do If You Suspect a Fetal Monitoring Failure

Contact our office at (888) 367-7160 to speak directly with an attorney about your child’s fetal monitoring failure case. We offer free, no-obligation consultations. Our legal team proudly serves clients throughout Houston, having secured multiple, multi-million dollar recoveries on their behalf.

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