My Baby’s Heart Stopped During Birth- Could It Be The Doctor’s Fault?


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When a baby is ready to be delivered, expectant parents and their families put their trust in the medical professionals who are assisting them. They trust that they, and their child, have received the proper prenatal care, and they trust that they will continue to receive the best of care during and after labor and delivery. In most cases, their trust is well placed, and mom and baby will both go home from the hospital happy and healthy. In some instances though, complications arise and the hopes and expectations that new parents have are dashed and their trust is broken.

Cardiac Arrest Can Have A Lifetime Effect

One complication that can arise is cardiac arrest in the baby during birth. While uncommon, when cardiac arrest happens in newborns, it can have devastating results, up to and including death. Cardiac arrest happens when the heart stops beating for some reason. It can be more severe than a heart attack, which is when there is a blockage in one of the arteries carrying oxygen to the heart. Unlike adults who typically suffer from cardiac arrest due to coronary artery disease, newborns whose hearts stop usually do so due to a respiratory issue. Hypoxemia (a low level of oxygen in the blood) or airway difficulties causing trouble breathing are often the causes of cardiac arrest in babies. Because the cause of cardiac arrest in babies during delivery is often of a respiratory nature, future complications can include brain damage, neurological problems, and other issues that result from a lack of oxygen. These conditions can be severe and can last a lifetime.

Who Is To Blame For A Baby’s Cardiac Arrest?

Sometimes these complications are unavoidable, and cannot be detected or treated until they happen. There may be genetic factors involved (congenital heart defects), respiratory infections, or airway obstructions that cannot be treated until the baby is born. There are times though, when cardiac arrest occurs due to improper monitoring or diagnosis on the part of medical professionals. The baby’s heart rate and blood pressure must be monitored consistently during labor and delivery. If they aren’t, and cardiac arrest occurs, it could be considered negligence on the part of the doctors or other hospital staff.

Another area where doctors may err is in diagnosing a congenital heart defect while the baby is still in the womb. The heart develops early in a fetus, and many times defects can be detected and corrected with in-utero surgery. If such defects are detectable, but a doctor misses it and a baby suffers cardiac arrest during labor or delivery, it could be considered malpractice or negligence.

What To Do When The Worst Has Happened

If you, or someone you know, had a baby who suffered cardiac arrest during delivery, you may have been subject to medical malpractice or negligence. In these cases, it is imperative that you have your records reviewed by medical and legal experts. At Ross Feller Casey we have doctor-lawyers on staff who are qualified to evaluate your situation and determine if you have a case.

Please contact our firm for your free consultation. Ross Feller Casey attorneys work on a contingency basis, so there will be no charge to you unless your case results in a financial recovery.

Disclaimer: Ross Feller Casey, LLP provides legal advice only after an attorney-client relationship is formed. Our website is an introduction to the firm and does not create a relationship between our attorneys and clients. An attorney-client relationship is formed only after a written agreement is signed by the client and the firm. Because every case is unique, the description of awards and summary of cases successfully handled are not intended to imply or guarantee that same success in other cases. Ross Feller Casey, LLP represents catastrophically injured persons and their families in injury and wrongful death cases, providing legal representation in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.