Low Apgar Scores
The Apgar test is given to newborns soon after birth to evaluate a baby’s physical health. Medical professionals have long used the tool to gain a quick overview of how well the newborn tolerated delivery. If you believe that your child had low Apgar scores due to medical malpractice, you may be entitled to compensation. At Arfaa Law Group, our Baltimore birth injury attorneys are committed to providing compassionate and vigorous assistance at every step of the way.Understanding Low Apgar Scores
Apgar stands for appearance, pulse, grimace, activity, and respiration. The test measures a baby’s heart rate, muscle tone, and other signs to see if any additional medical care is needed. The test is given twice: one minute after birth and five minutes after birth. The score is on a scale from 1 to 10, and the higher the score, the better the baby is doing after birth. A sign of 7 or above is a sign that the newborn baby is in good health. A low score indicates that the baby suffered some level of distress during labor and delivery. If a child continues to have a poor Apgar score at five, seven, or more minutes after birth, that child may be more at risk for developing cerebral palsy, as well as cognitive impairments and seizures.
Medical malpractice cases are appropriate when a medical professional’s substandard conduct causes an injury or the death of a patient. Thus, failing to properly rate a newborn’s Apgar score or failing to properly intervene when a newborn’s score is low may give rise to a malpractice claim. For instance, if a fetus is deprived of oxygen during birth, he or she may have suffered from hypoxia, which can lead to long-term brain damage to the child. Hypoxia can affect all of the Apgar measurements and means that the baby needs medical attention. If the medical professional failed to provide the medical care needed in that situation, and the baby suffered harm as a result, the medical professional would be liable.
The burden of proof in medical malpractice cases is on the plaintiff. The plaintiff’s lawyer in these cases must show that the medical professional owed the newborn a duty to adhere to a professional standard of care, they breached that professional standard of care, and that breach was a direct and proximate cause of the newborn’s harm. Of course, low Apgar scores by themselves do not necessarily mean that medical malpractice took place. Instead, the doctor’s conduct must have been the reason for the low Apgar score, or, alternatively, the newborn must have been harmed because the doctor failed to respond properly to the low Apgar score.
The reality is that a birth injury can make a child’s life physically and emotionally challenging. Parents often need large sums of money to provide for a child’s care, which can often be long-term or even for a lifetime. When liability is established in these cases, a victim of malpractice may be entitled to compensation from the negligent party, including but not limited to medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, rehabilitation costs, and any other losses related to the malpractice. Each case is different, and the specific amount of damages that a plaintiff will be able to recover will depend on the details of the case.Contact a Medical Negligence Lawyer in the Baltimore Area
If your child’s low Apgar scores were related to a medical professional’s negligence, you may be able to recover compensation through a medical malpractice claim. While no amount of money can undo the harm, the money can help deal with the injuries and conditions resulting from the malpractice. At Arfaa Law Group, our Baltimore attorneys are dedicated to serving the interests of victims of malpractice across Maryland. We are here to answer your questions and address your concerns throughout the legal process. Contact us today for a free consultation with an attorney. You can call us at 410-889-1850 or reach us through our website.