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Apnea and Bradycardia

Baltimore Lawyers Representing Families in Birth Injury Cases

Typically, shortly after birth, infants undergo examinations to ensure that they are doing well outside of the womb. Among other things, the doctors assessing them will evaluate their heart and respiration rates. If a doctor fails to properly assess an infant’s breathing, it can lead to a dangerous complication known as apnea and bradycardia. If not properly monitored and treated, apnea and bradycardia can lead to lifelong complications, and families harmed by medical oversights may be able to pursue claims against the medical professionals responsible for their damages. If your child sustained losses due to apnea and bradycardia, it is advisable to contact an attorney to discuss your rights. The knowledgeable Baltimore birth injury lawyers of Arfaa Law Group are well-versed in what it takes to hold negligent healthcare providers accountable, and if you engage our services, we will fight to help you seek a just outcome.

Diagnosing Apnea and Bradycardia

Apnea and bradycardia are two separate but related conditions that often occur in infants. Specifically, apnea is a condition in which an infant repeatedly stops breathing for twenty seconds or more. Apnea often occurs during sleep, but newborns may have episodes of apnea at any time. Bradycardia is an abnormally low heart rate that is caused by decreased blood oxygen levels. It is not uncommon for newborns to experience occasional episodes of bradycardia in their first few months of life. Apnea can increase the likelihood of bradycardia, as the periods a baby goes without breathing can reduce the level of oxygen in the blood. Apnea and bradycardia are usually diagnosed through observation and tests that determine a baby’s heart and breathing rates. In some instances, an infant may need to wear an apnea monitor. If adequately managed, apnea and bradycardia typically resolve without issue. If they are not properly addressed, though, they can lead to brain damage and, in extreme cases, death.

Certain risk factors, including premature birth, infection, exposure to cold or heat, restricted airways, and blood vessel and heart issues, can increase the risk of apnea and bradycardia. As such, if an infant has one or more factors that place them in danger of developing apnea and bradycardia, they should be closely monitored.

Elements of a Lawsuit Arising out of Harm Caused by Apnea and Bradycardia

Parents generally rely on doctors to ensure that their babies do not have any potentially dangerous conditions, like apnea and bradycardia. If a doctor fails to take the measures necessary to protect an infants’ health and the baby subsequently suffers a birth injury, the doctor may be liable for medical malpractice. Generally, most plaintiffs in birth injury cases will assert negligence claims against the defendants.

In Maryland, to establish medical negligence, a plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant owed them a duty to provide care that meets the applicable standard. The standard that applies is the care that a reasonable professional working in the same practice area would offer under similar circumstances. The plaintiff also needs to prove that the defendant breached the standard of care and that the breach proximately caused the plaintiff to suffer measurable losses. In many cases, the defendant will attempt to argue that other factors caused the infant’s harm, and therefore, they should not be deemed responsible. As the standard of care that applies to physicians and what the standard requires is beyond the realm of understanding of the average layperson, the plaintiff will typically need to hire a medical expert to explain the issues to the jury. Expert testimony will likely be required to establish the extent of the infant’s harm as well.

Confer With an Experienced Baltimore Attorney

Apnea and bradycardia often occur in infants, and while they are easily managed with proper care, if they are not addressed, they can lead to grave harm. If your child sustained damage shortly after birth due to the carelessness of a medical professional, you might be able to pursue a birth injury claim, and you should confer with an attorney. The experienced Baltimore lawyers of Arfaa Law Group can assess the circumstances surrounding your child’s harm and advise you regarding what claims you may be able to pursue. We have an office in Baltimore, where we frequently represent parties in birth injury lawsuits. You can reach us through our form online or by calling us at 410-889-1850 to set up a confidential meeting.