Fetal monitoring can be used to describe a range of monitoring techniques used (mostly) during labor and delivery, but also during pregnancy. Most frequently, however, fetal monitoring refers to monitoring the baby’s heartbeat. Practitioners can derive quite a bit of information from the rhythm and pattern of the heartbeat, and if the pattern changes, it could indicate that the baby is in distress.
What is Fetal Monitoring?
There are several types of fetal monitoring, including electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) — which can occur either continuously or intermittently — and hands-on-listening. Hands-on-listening requires the practitioner to place a hand on the mother’s abdomen to feel the contractions while listening with an auxiliary device, such as a fetal stethoscope or a fetal Doppler ultrasound device. Both types of fetal monitoring have their benefits and drawbacks. EFM more frequently results in C-sections and the use of vacuum or forceps during the birth process. Hands-on-listening has been linked to a higher rate of newborn seizures and may not be ideal for individuals with pregnancy or birth complications.
Negligent Fetal Monitoring
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (under the Department of Health and Human Services) cites some disturbing statistics that were reported to the Joint Commission. 34% of the cases of perinatal death or permanent disability were linked to inadequate fetal monitoring between 1996 and 2004.
Negligence can occur due to several factors, including:
With fetal monitoring, negligence can result in two main paths—lack of necessary action or unnecessary intervention.
Negligent fetal monitoring can lead to birth injuries, such as cerebral palsy, brain damage, nerve damage, developmental delays, paralysis, and even stillbirth or death shortly after birth.
Utah Birth Injury Lawyer
If you believe that your child’s birth injury resulted from negligent fetal monitoring, it’s important that you reach out to an attorney who can assist you with holding the responsible (and liable) parties accountable. Birth injuries can have long-lasting financial consequences, and it may be possible to receive compensation that can help pay for your financial costs. Contact our office today to discuss your case.