Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring Errors
Posted in Medical Malpractice on May 17, 2021
Medical professionals who work in labor and delivery wards need specialized training to support safe childbirths. Unfortunately, not all healthcare providers uphold their respective duties of care—harming the children that they deliver. One of the most common and dangerous breaches of care involves fetal heart rate monitoring errors, or the failure to monitor a child’s vital signs during delivery. If your child sustained permanent damage due to a monitoring error, you could file a lawsuit against the responsible medical professional.
What Is Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring?
Fetal heart rate monitoring involves carefully watching an infant’s heart rate during labor and delivery. If a medical provider detects an unusual pattern in the heart rate, the fetus is likely in distress and requires emergency medical attention. There are two ways that doctors usually monitor a heart rate during this process.
- Internal fetal heart rate monitoring involves placing a monitor on the infant’s scalp while the mother is dilated.
- External fetal heart rate monitoring involves attaching a monitor to a belt like device, which the doctor then places around the mother’s stomach.
Fetal heart rate monitoring is a necessary part of the labor and delivery process, but a healthcare provider may fail to detect an abnormality in the baby’s heart rate. Any negligence during this process can cause serious injury to the child, including permanent brain damage and even death. Unfortunately, medical providers can commit many errors while performing fetal monitoring, including the following.
- Failure to act quickly when fetal distress is detected
- Failure to identify an abnormal heart rate
- Failure to use or attach the fetal monitor properly
- Failure to properly monitor uterine contractions
- Failure to distinguish between the fetal and maternal heart rate
- Failure to provide more frequent monitoring when necessary
Legal Options for Birth Injury Victims
If your healthcare provider committed a fetal monitoring error while you were giving birth, your child can sustain permanent damage that requires long-term care. Under Missouri law, you have the right to hold this negligent medical professional accountable for your child’s injuries. By filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, you can recover compensation for your child’s medical expenses, physical therapies, disability equipment, and other damages you and your family sustained due to the negligence.
You will need to prove the following facts are true in order to file a successful claim.
- The at-fault medical professional owed your child a duty of care.
- The at-fault party breached his or her duty of care through a negligent act or failure to act.
- The at-fault party’s breach of duty caused your child’s birth injury.
- Your family can recover damages through the lawsuit.
Essentially, you will need to establish that the at-fault party’s actions deviated from the accepted medical standard of care. A medical malpractice attorney can help you prove this point by enlisting the help of a medical expert witness who can provide insight into the provider’s actions.
How Long Do You Have to File a Birth Injury Lawsuit in Missouri?
If you believe your child sustained a birth injury due to improper fetal heart rate monitoring, it is important to act quickly. All civil lawsuits are subject to the statute of limitations, which sets a deadline for filing a claim. If you do not file within the appropriate time period, the court will dismiss the case.
Children have ten years from the date of their injury or two years from their eighteenth birthday to file a medical malpractice lawsuit, whichever is later. As soon as possible following your child’s injury, contact a Kansas City medical malpractice attorney to discuss your legal options.