Failure to Recognize Fetal Distress Leading to a Birth Injury

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Oregon Birth Injury Lawyer Explains Medical Malpractice in the Failure to Recognize Fetal Distress Leading to a Birth Injury

Although most people think of the birth of a baby being a joyous event, there are some instances in which circumstances surrounding a baby’s birth can overshadow the joy that most parents experience. While most babies are born healthy and without incident, there is a fair number of parents whose baby’s experience complications relating to pregnancy and birth. Despite that some babies are still born healthy in spite of these circumstances, other babies are not as fortunate. Statistics reveal that roughly 2 out of every 2,000 births results in some type of birth trauma. There are many different complications that can occur during pregnancy, labor, and just after birth. Even though some of these complications are completely unpreventable, there are times in which a medical provider fails to recognize or intervene when a newborn is experiencing fetal distress, leading to serious injuries. Some of these injuries may lead to life-long disabilities or even death. Our Oregon birth injury lawyer knows that this is particularly true when a medical professional’s failure to recognize fetal distress leading to a birth injury causes the harm.

Here at Kuhlman Law, our compassionate legal team can help you and your family recover compensation after your cherished baby suffers a birth injury in Oregon or Minnesota. That’s because, when preventable circumstances cause your newborn’s birth injury, you may be entitled to compensation to assist with any past, current, or future expenses incurred relating to your child’s injury. Our experienced birth injury lawyer is here to help you recover any compensation you and your child may be entitled to, including for conscious pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, punitive damages, and other compensable injuries under the law.

What is Fetal Distress?

Fetal distress refers to any changes in the fetus (baby) that may indicate that the baby is not receiving enough oxygen. Signs of this may include an abnormally low or high heart rate, lack of fetal heart rate variability, a heart rate that is non-reassuring on fetal monitoring in relation to the contractions a mother is experiencing, or lack of appropriate movement of the fetus. Additionally, the presence of meconium (stool) in the mother’s amniotic fluid is another sign of fetal distress. Ignoring or failing to recognize these injuries can be serious instances of medical malpractice in either Oregon or Minnesota.

What Causes Fetal Distress?

There are many different causes of fetal distress and in some instances, the cause is unable to be identified. What matters is that there is an appropriate intervention when a baby is found to be experiencing fetal distress. Some of the most common causes of fetal distress include the following:

  • Oligohydramnios – low amniotic fluid
  • Polyhydramnips – too much amniotic fluid
  • Contractions that occur too frequently
  • Pre-eclampsia – A life-threatening condition characterized by high blood pressure, protein in the urine, and other symptoms which typically require an early delivery of the baby
  • Hypotension – Abnormally low blood pressure
  • Fetal anemia – Abnormally low red blood cell count while still in utero, which may require blood transfusions while in utero. A significantly low red blood cell count can lead to loss of oxygen of the infant.
  • Placental abruption – This complication occurs when the placenta detaches from the wall of the uterus, leading to oxygen deprivation
  • Umbilical cord compression – Compression of the umbilical cord causes a loss of oxygen
  • Umbilical cord prolapse – This occurs when the umbilical cord comes out before the baby during delivery, often leading to a loss of oxygen. This is a medical emergency which must be handled immediately to avoid permanent brain damage or death.
  • Placenta previa – Complications of placenta previa include hemorrhage of the mother which can lead to fetal distress of the baby
  • Intrauterine growth restriction – abnormally small baby
  • Certain conditions of the mother, such as kidney disease or diabetes
  • Gestational hypertension – high blood pressure that occurs during pregnancy
  • Identical twin pregnancy or pregnancy involving multiples

How Can Fetal Distress Lead to a Birth Injury?

If a baby is deprived of oxygen and essential nutrients, this can cause damage to the baby’s brain and other vital organs, leading to an injury or death. It is essential that there is immediate intervention when a baby is found to be in fetal distress in order to avoid long-term or even fatal complications. Birth injuries caused by these types of fetal distress can result in serious or catastrophic personal injuries, including wrongful death. These are typically preventable, especially with proper medical care and treatment.

Injuries Caused by Fetal Distress

Unfortunately, there are many different types of injuries that can occur as a result of fetal distress during pregnancy or labor. Some of the most common injuries caused by fetal distress include the following:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
  • Anoxic brain injuries
  • Hypoxic brain injuries
  • Periventricular leukomalacia
  • Stillbirth, and
  • Other injuries caused by fetal distress

If your loved one had any of these serious personal injuries, contact our Oregon birth injury lawyer in Bend or Portland. He is also licensed in Minnesota, and handles catastrophic medical malpractice cases throughout Minnesota.

Ways in Which Injuries Caused by Fetal Distress Are Caused by Medical Malpractice

There are many ways in which injuries relating to fetal distress can be caused by medical malpractice. Some of the most common causes include the following:

  • Failure to identify a non-reassuring heart rate on fetal monitoring
  • Failure to provide appropriate monitoring during labor
  • Failure to provide additional monitoring for mothers who have high-risk pregnancies during labor
  • Failure to change a laboring mother’s position when a heart rate is unreassuring
  • Failure to intervene with a c-section when indicated
  • Failure to induce a mother or perform a c-section when circumstances call for such action
  • Failure to intervene with other interventions, such as providing the mother supplemental oxygen or fluids
  • Failure to intervene when labor is not progressing appropriately

Whenever the failure to recognize fetal distress leading to a birth injury harms your loved one, contact our Oregon birth injury lawyer in Bend or Portland. At Kuhlman Law, their medical malpractice lawyer and experienced legal team can help you and your family recover compensation that is obtainable under the law. We also handle cases in Minnesota too.

Damages for Fetal Distress Leading to a Birth Injury

If your infant suffered a birth injury caused by inadequate interventions in the setting of fetal distress, you may be eligible for compensation. Unfortunately, injuries caused by a failure to intervene when an infant is in fetal distress are often severe and life-long. Common damages victims and their family may be able to recover include the following:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional pain and suffering
  • Therapies, such as occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech, etc.
  • Assistive device coverage (i.e. walker, wheelchair, etc.)
  • Vehicle and home modifications
  • Medical bills (past, present, and future)
  • Nursing care
  • Funeral and burial costs if injuries lead to death
  • Other damages relating to injuries caused by a failure to respond to fetal distress

Whenever a Failure to Recognize Fatal Distress Leading to a Birth Injury Harms Your Baby, Call Our Oregon Birth Injury Lawyer and Medical Malpractice Firm in Bend, Portland, and in Minnesota


If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or wrongfully killed as a result of medical malpractice contact the Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form.  We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.

Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton,  Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles,  St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.


We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take medical malpractice cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.


For a free case evaluation


(541) 385-1999 in Bend, Oregon
(503) 479-3646 in Portland, Oregon
(612) 444-3374 in Minnesota

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