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Failure to Take Vital Signs

Attorneys Helping Parties Harmed by Birth Injuries in Baltimore

When a mother is in labor, the doctors and nurses attending to her typically assess both her and her unborn infant’s vital signs numerous times throughout the process. Heart rates, blood pressure, and temperature are strong indicators as to whether labor is progressing safely, and the failure to properly monitor them can cause complications to go unnoticed, leading to devastating birth injuries. If your child suffered unnecessary harm at birth due to your health care providers’ failure to take vital signs, you should consult a lawyer to discuss whether you may have a viable claim for damages. The diligent Baltimore birth injury attorneys of Arfaa Law Group are skilled at helping families dealing with devastating injuries seek justice via civil claims, and if we represent you, we will advocate aggressively in your favor.

The Necessity of Monitoring Vital Signs

It is critical to monitor the vital signs of a mother in labor and her unborn child to assess whether the child is in fetal distress or if issues could arise that may require an emergency cesarean section or other interventions. Specifically, a rapidly increased or decreased heart rate of the mother or child or an increase in the mother’s temperature or blood pressure all may be indications of complications. A failure to take vital signs at regular intervals during the birthing process means signs could be missed that the unborn infant’s health is in danger. Similarly, if a nurse does not accurately interpret signs of distress or communicate them to the attending physician, it may cause a significant delay in the actions needed to protect the child’s health. Thus, the failure to take vital signs may ultimately lead to cerebral palsy, brain damage, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, and in some instances, death.

Pursuing Damages for Harm Sustained During Labor and Delivery

When an infant suffers an injury at birth, it is typically due to a doctor’s or nurses careless actions or failure. Even though healthcare providers usually do not cause intentional harm, they should nonetheless be held accountable for the damages [link to damages in birth injury cases page] caused by their behavior. As such, plaintiffs seeking compensation for birth injuries in a civil lawsuit will usually set forth a medical negligence claim against the defendant.

In Maryland, to establish negligence in a birth injury case, the plaintiff must show that the defendant owed the plaintiff a duty to comply with a standard of care but that the defendant deviated from the standard, thereby breaching the duty. The standard of care that applies is the standard that a competent and reasonable professional practicing in the same specialty would adhere to under similar circumstances. For example, if the standard of care for a labor and delivery nurse dictates that vital signs must be checked and reported to the doctor caring for the mother every twenty minutes, but the defendant failed to check the mother’s vital signs for ninety minutes, it is likely to be considered a departure from the standard. Finally, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s breach proximately caused the infant’s injury. In other words, the plaintiff must show that the defendant’s behavior was a significant factor in bringing about the harm, and that the harm would not have occurred absent the breach. Usually, both the parents and the injured infant may recover damages in a birth injury lawsuit, but they are subject to different time limitations as to when their claims must be filed.

Speak with a Trusted Attorney in Baltimore

Regularly taking and accurately interpreting vital signs throughout the process of giving birth is necessary to protect fetal health, and when doctors or nurses fail to comply with these duties, it can cause tragic birth injuries. If your infant suffered harm during birth, you may be able to pursue claims against your health care providers and should confer with a lawyer as soon as possible. The trusted attorneys of Arfaa Law Group take pride in helping parties hurt by medical negligence seek justice for their losses, and if you hire us, we will develop effective arguments in favor of your recovery of damages. Our office is in Baltimore, and we frequently assist people with birth injury lawsuits throughout the city. You can contact us through our form online or at 410-889-1850 to set up a conference.