Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring Errors

Birth Injury Lawyers Guiding Families in Baltimore and Throughout Maryland

Throughout pregnancy, and especially during labor and delivery, fetal heart rate monitoring is critical to the health and safety of the baby. There are specific guidelines that medical professionals should follow regarding the use of fetal heart rate monitors. If your child has suffered an injury due to a physician’s negligence in fetal monitoring, you may be entitled to compensation. At Arfaa Law Group, our Baltimore birth injury attorneys can help you navigate the legal process in a tenacious yet compassionate manner. We have obtained substantial settlements and verdicts in a wide range of medical malpractice cases in Maryland.

Fetal Heart Rate Monitoring Errors

Fetal heart rate monitoring is a process whereby the heart rate of a baby is checked during labor and delivery, using special equipment. Fetal heart rate monitoring errors take place when an abnormal fetal heart rate goes undetected. There are two main ways to monitor a baby’s heart rate: internal, in which a monitor is attached to the baby’s scalp once the mother is dilated between two and three centimeters; and external, in which a monitor is attached to a belt-type device that is placed around the mother’s stomach to record the unborn child’s heart rate as well as the mother’s contractions.

Fetal heart rate monitoring errors can cause serious injuries and even death. Improper fetal monitoring can consist of a range of mistakes, including:

  • Failure to identify abnormal fetal heart rate;
  • Failure to monitor uterine contractions;
  • Failure to determine whether a mother needs more frequent monitoring;
  • Failure to act promptly when signs of fetal distress have been recognized;
  • Failure to distinguish between the mother’s heart rate and the baby’s heart rate; or
  • Failure to use the fetal monitor properly.

Physicians and other medical staff members are typically trained to use a fetal monitor to detect any signs of fetal distress when the baby’s supply of oxygen is compromised. Detecting these signs early allows a physician to act quickly and prevent potential harm to the child. If your child has been injured due to a fetal monitoring error, you can likely file a medical malpractice claim against the at-fault party. In Maryland, medical malpractice denotes negligence by a medical professional, such as a doctor, nurse, therapist, or member of a hospital staff or health care facility. Negligence occurs when a medical professional causes harm by failing to conform to the generally accepted standard of care, resulting in injuries or death to a baby or mother. Negligence can also occur when a medical professional fails to act when there is a duty to do so.

Depending on the extent of the harm suffered by the child, these birth injuries can have many different consequences, such as brain damage, paralysis, nerve damage, developmental delays, cerebral palsy, and even stillbirth. Some of these conditions are extremely serious and require long-term, even lifetime medical treatment. Fortunately, Maryland permits victims of medical malpractice to seek economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages refer to things like medical expenses, lost income and benefits, and rehabilitation costs. Non-economic damages refer to damages such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, and other damages that are harder to quantify in a dollar amount.

Contact a Medical Negligence Lawyer in the Baltimore Area

If your child was injured due to a fetal heart rate monitoring error, you need to reach out to a skilled Baltimore attorney without delay. At Arfaa Law Group, we can carefully review your medical records and help you determine if your child’s fetal monitor strips were ignored or misinterpreted. You can rest assured that we are committed to getting you the compensation that you need for your family to move forward emotionally and financially. We assist injured children and their families across the state of Maryland. For a free case review, you can call 410-889-1850 or contact us online. Our attorneys are proud to have secured some of the largest jury awards in medical malpractice cases in the history of Baltimore County.