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Failure to Recognize Fetal Distress

Failure to Recognize Fetal Distress

Contact Our Charlotte Birth Injury Lawyers for a Free Consultation

During labor and birth, delivery room doctors and nurses have a responsibility to properly monitor for signs of fetal distress. Failure to do so can have serious implications, as loss of oxygen, increased heart rate, and other signs of distress can all lead to serious complications and, in the most tragic of cases, the death of the child.

If your child suffered serious harm or died as a result of delivery room personnel’s failure to recognize and respond to fetal distress, we at Charles G. Monnett III & Associates offer our sincerest sympathies. We understand what an emotional and difficult time this is for you and your family, and we want to help. We know that no amount of financial compensation can ever undo what you have been through—but it can help you to get the critical medical care your child needs and provide a much-needed sense of justice for you and your family.

Learn more about your rights during a free consultation with one of our Charlotte birth injury lawyers; call us at (704) 859-2003 or contact us online today.

Signs of Fetal Distress

During labor and delivery, doctors and nurses should carefully monitor your child’s vital signs, including heart rate, movement, and more. This allows them to notice right away when something is wrong so that they can take the appropriate action to protect your safety and the well-being of your child.

Doctors and nurses should monitor for common signs of fetal distress, including but not limited to:

  • Unusually high or low fetal heart rate
  • A sudden cessation in fetal movement
  • Significant decrease in fetal movement
  • High levels of lactate in the baby’s blood
  • Evidence that meconium is present in the amniotic fluid
  • Vaginal bleeding/cramping
  • Too low or too high maternal weight gain

Failure to respond promptly to signs of fetal distress can lead to serious, life-altering implications. It is absolutely critical that attending doctors and nurses quickly and accurately recognize and respond to signs of fetal distress to prevent unnecessary harm to the infant and/or mother.

Causes of Fetal Distress

There are many reasons an infant may display signs of distress, all of which could have very serious consequences if not immediately addressed.

Some of the most common reasons for signs of fetal distress include:

  • Oxygen deprivation
  • Breech presentation
  • Umbilical cord wrapped around infant’s neck
  • Umbilical cord prolapse
  • Placental abruption
  • Uterine rupture
  • Preeclampsia

Fetal distress can also be in response to outside factors, such as improper use of forceps or vacuum extractors to aide in delivery.

Failure to Recognize Fetal Distress Can Have Serious Consequences

Doctors and nurses have a responsibility to both recognize and respond to fetal distress. In most cases, the only way to address signs of distress is by birthing the baby, typically by cesarean section (C-section), as vaginal birth could lead to more complications. When medical providers fail to do this, it can lead to devastating injuries to the infant and/or the mother, including hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), brain damage, cerebral palsy, maternal hemorrhaging, and more.

Since 1983, Charles G. Monnett III & Associates has been providing dedicated, client-focused legal representation to individuals and families who have suffered the consequences of a medical provider’s negligence. Our Charlotte birth injury lawyers can help you if your child or the mother of your child was harmed as a result of a doctor’s failure to recognize fetal distress.

Give us a call at (704) 859-2003 or contact us online to request a free and confidential consultation.


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Proven Record of Success

  • $3 Million Cerebral Palsy

    Confidential settlement for a child with cerebral palsy as a result of birth-related brain injury.

  • $13 Million Medical Negligence Verdict

    An infant suffered an undiagnosed case of bacterial meningitis that caused severe neurological damage.

  • $8 Million Confidential Settlement

    Confidential settlement for an infant with bilateral leg amputations following improper placement of the femoral line.

  • $3.375 Million Failure to Diagnose

    Confidential settlement on behalf of a child with severe visual impairments resulting from the failure to properly diagnose retinopathy of prematurity in a newborn child.

  • $3 Million Negligent Administration of Nerve Block

    Confidential settlement for a woman with hypoxic-ischemic brain injury as a result of negligent administration of nerve block for headache.


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