During childbirth, it is essential that medical professionals monitor a fetus for any sign of fetal distress. If indicated, this signifies danger and usually, the requirement for immediate medical intervention. Without this, the potential consequences are severe and could even lead to a fatality.
If your newborn suffered a fetal distress injury in Michigan, you might be traumatized and feel as though you have no legal recourse. However, it is essential for the actions or inaction of a medical team to be investigated in order to determine if they were negligent.
To this end, a lawyer at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. could help. A dedicated attorney could work tirelessly to pursue a civil lawsuit, so that you and your child could move past these injuries and on with your lives.
What is Fetal Distress?
Just as the human body produces signs and symptoms that they need medical help, so does the fetus. Movement, heart rate, growth, and swallowing motions can be indicators of whether or not a fetus is in distress. During distress, the unborn child is suffering from decreased oxygen to the brain.
Lack of oxygen to the unborn child could quickly lead to brain damage and other potentially life-long or life-threatening conditions. Because the fetus receives oxygen from the mother via the placenta and umbilical cord, most fetal distress injuries indicate a problem with these areas.
When Does a Fetus Become Distressed?
A detached placenta, also known as placental abruption, occurs when the uterus prematurely comes away from the uterine wall. Placental abruption immediately decreases the oxygen delivered to the baby via the mother and makes imminent birth necessary for survival.
Like placental abruption, meconium aspiration is another complication of labor and delivery. When a fetus is experiencing stress, they may have their first bowel movement prior to delivery, known as meconium. When the baby is born, the meconium can be in or near their mouth, nose, and airway, causing the unborn child to breathe it into the lungs. In turn, the baby may struggle to breathe or even develop an infection. Other causes of fetal distress injuries in Michigan could include:
- Overuse of labor induction medications
- Rupture of the placenta
- Compression or twisting of the umbilical cord
- High maternal blood pressure
- Prolonged labor
Healthcare Professional Liability
While some of these factors, such as meconium aspiration, are not controlled by healthcare professionals, they must still monitor the mother and fetus for any signs of distress or problems before, during, and after delivery. Therefore, if they do not follow protocols for the standard of care when monitoring and treating fetal distress injuries in Michigan, they could be held liable for the damages that arise.
Under the legal standard of negligence, a claimant and their attorney would need to establish a series of legal precedents. These include:
- The doctor or other healthcare professional owed a duty of care to the patient and fetus
- This duty was violated by not recognizing and acting on the fetal distress
- As a direct result, the patient or unborn child suffered injury
- That injury lead to damages such as pain and suffering, medical bills, loss of companionship, and loss of enjoyment of life, or even death
The Time Limits for Filing a Lawsuit
It is important for any family seeking compensation for fetal distress injuries that arose from a medical professional’s errors in Michigan understand the statute of limitations. According to Michigan Compiled Laws § 600.5851, for children under the age of 8 who were harmed during childbirth, a claim should be filed within two years or before their 10th birthday, whichever time frame is longer.
Seeking Legal Counsel After a Michigan Fetal Distress Injury
If your child suffered a fetal distress injury in Michigan due to the negligence of a doctor or nurse, a compassionate lawyer could help you take legal action. While no amount of compensation could undo what has happened, a successful claim could help you to recover for medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other injury-related damages for both you and your child.
However, because of the deadlines for filing a claim, taking tangible steps to pursue compensation as soon as possible might prove to be beneficial. To schedule a consultation, call a legal professional at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. today.
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