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Neonatal Malpractice Attorneys
The medical malpractice firm of The Fitzgerald Law Firm has been a leader in handling cases involving neonatal malpractice. Neonatal malpractice involves the failure to provide appropriate medical care for a newborn infant during the first 28 days of life, during which time the newborn baby is particularly susceptible to injuries. Free consultation 1-800-323-9900 toll free or submit online consultation form.
What is neonatal malpractice? It has been said that the most dangerous journey a person takes is the journey down the birth canal during labor and delivery. If that is so, then the second most dangerous journey is the journey through the first 28 days of life. More specifically, the first hours and days of a newborn’s life are a particularly vulnerable period.
These first 28 days is a particularly vulnerable time premature babies. Neonatal malpractice which can occur during this time includes the following:
1. Failure to resuscitate the newborn. Very often a newborn requires resuscitation in order to start breathing air and exchanging gases for the first time in his life. This need for resuscitation can often be indicated by Apgar scores in which the infant is graded in 5 areas in order to determine whether or not resuscitation is needed. The Apgar scores are assigned usually at 1 and 5 minutes and sometimes even beyond that. The newborn is given a score of 0, 1 or 2 for each of the 5 categories – color, heart rate, respiration, tone, and reflex irritability.
2. Immediately following the first 5 to 10 minutes of life, the newborn is generally taken to either the regular nursery or the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). In both of these nurseries the newborn must be monitored closely. The newborn’s breathing should be particularly monitored. The newborn may need assistance with ventilation. If the newborn is having trouble exchanging gases, he can become under oxygenated. 02 sats and blood gases need to be measured frequently. Proper ventilation must be assured or the newborn infant is susceptible to brain damage.
3. Feeding is very important. Feeding of premature babies is particularly dangerous as they can develop necrotizing enterocolotis (NEC) if not given breast milk.
4. The newborn may be anemic (this can result from hyperbilirubinemia). If unchecked this can develop into kernicterus and the baby can suffer brain damage.
5. Frequently a neurological assessment of the newborn is required and very often this is not adequately done. Neonatal neurological syndrome must be checked for each newborn.
6. Infections (Sepsis) are another cause of injury to the newborn. The newborn can incur an infection such as GBS during vaginal delivery if the mother had been exposed to or infected with GBS. The newborn is particularly vulnerable to hospital acquired infections which can be transmitted by nurses or visitors to the newborn nursery. Improper hand washing by the medical personnel can lead to infection of the newborns. If the infections are not diagnosed and promptly and properly treated, they can result in severe illness to the newborn. This sometimes results in meningitis or inflammation of the brain. This can result in lifelong injuries to the newborn.