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Nassau County Failure to Detect Fetal Distress

It is important for doctors, nurses and other members of the medical staff to monitor a fetus, particularly during labor and delivery. Labor and delivery are complicated processes. There are a number of things that could wrong, putting the baby at risk for a serious birth injury such as hypoxia, Erb’s palsy, brachial palsy, a brain injury, respiratory problems, cerebral palsy, blindness, a spinal cord injury, developmental delays, or another other serious, life-altering personal injury. However, with proper fetal monitoring the medical staff will be alerted should baby experience fetal distress indicating that the baby is not receiving enough oxygen. Proper steps could then be taken, such as an immediate cesarean delivery, to minimize injury to the baby. However, failure to detect fetal distress could leave the baby with serious, life-long injuries. If you or your baby suffered a serious injury as a result of a failure to detect fetal distress, it is important that you immediately contact an experienced Nassau County Failure to Detect Fetal Distress Injury Lawyer who will help you pursue compensation for your injuries and your child’s injuries through a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Types of Fetal Distress

There are many signs that would tend to indicate that the baby is in distress or is not developing properly. For example, decreased fetal movement would indicate that there might be a problem. Other symptoms of fetal distress that can be observed through proper monitoring include:

  • Stained amniotic fluid: Stained amniotic fluid indicates that meconium has contaminated the amniotic fluid. If there is meconium in the amniotic fluid, there is a risk of meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS).
  • Decreased or fluctuating heart rate: If monitoring shows that the baby’s heart beat has decreased or is fluctuating, the baby is likely in distress.
Common Reasons for Fetal Distress

During labor and delivery the baby is closely monitored because there are a number of problems that commonly arise during the process, including:

  • An umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s neck
  • Bad positioning of the baby prior to delivery
  • Placental eruption
  • Birth hypoxia
  • Shoulder dystocia

If monitoring shows that the baby is in distress, the obstetrician can take steps to help the baby. For example, the doctor may determine that an emergency C-Section is necessary for the health of the baby, the mother or both. On the other hand, if fetal distress is not detected, the baby could suffer a variety of serious problems including delayed development, cerebral palsy, or blindness.


In Spitz v. Dvorkes, 2006 NY Slip Op 50693 (NY, 2006), plaintiff Dalila Benkerroum’s son, Mustafa, was diagnosed with spastic diplegia, left-sided hemiparesis, and developmental delays. Dalila filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctors involved claiming that they failed to prevent and properly treat Mustafa’s perinatal hypoxia and to timely detect. Benkerroum assets that fetal monitoring indicated that there were decelerations in the baby’s heart rate. Such decelerations are associated with umbilical cord compression and fetal distress. She further asserted that because the defendants failed to detect the fetal distress, they failed to note that the baby was being deprived of sufficient oxygen necessitating an immediate Caesarian section.

Pursuing Compensation

While medical technology is available that is designed to alert doctors, nurses and other members of the medical staff when a fetus is in distress, unfortunately the medical staff does not always take appropriate action based on the information provided by fetal monitoring. Failure to properly respond to fetal distress can be a catastrophic medical error resulting in injury to you and your baby, and resulting in legal liable on the negligent medical professional.

Under New York law you would be able to pursue compensation for your losses by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the negligent medical professionals. Both you and your child may pursue compensation for past and future medical expenses, lost wages, loss of future earning capacity and pain and suffering.

Nassau County Failure to Detect Fetal Distress Injury Lawyer

If you suspect that your doctor, nurse, or other healthcare professional failed to detect, treat or monitor your baby’s fetal distress, do not hesitate to immediately contact an experienced New York birth injury attorney. The staff at Stephen Bilkis and Associates is experienced in successfully representing clients who have suffered injuries due to mistakes made by medical professionals, as well as those injured in car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents, and other types of accidents. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case.