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Florida Fetal Monitoring Lawyers

At Freedland Harwin Valori, PL we sincerely hope you never have to come to us for injuries related to negligent fetal monitoring. Birth injuries or trauma to your child because of preventable negligence is one of the most difficult things a parent will ever experience. If you do need legal help in Florida, however, know that our lawyers will fight aggressively for your family during a medical malpractice lawsuit. We can help.

What Is Fetal Monitoring?

Fetal monitoring is an imperative part of labor and delivery. Using electronic technology to monitor the fetal heart rate (FHR) before and during delivery is the most effective way to detect problems and take immediate action to ensure the safety of mother and child. Electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) is a common technique and is almost universally used in modern medicine. Auscultation, or periodically listening to FHR, may also be used; but, it provides much less information than the electronic equipment that is constantly monitoring.  Here’s how the process of fetal monitoring will typically go under the care and supervision of a competent hospital and physician:

  1. EFM -Electronic Fetal Monitoring. The obstetrical nurse will set up an FHR monitoring system with the mother at least when she is in active labor. There is usually a band that wraps around the mother’s stomach to keep track of fetal heart rate and contractions. The external device for measuring contractions is called a TOCO. It measures the duration and frequency of contractions but cannot measure actual pressure or intensity.  Only an internal pressure catheter device can measure actual pressure.   These devices are used in certain circumstances initially or as labor progresses.
  2. The devices are adjusted and checked initially and periodically.
  3. The EFM monitor prints out a paper trail or shows the baby’s heart rate and mom’s contractions on a screen as it monitors. The heart rate is shown on the top of the paper or screen and contractions are shown on the bottom.
  4. It is the duty of the nurses to monitor the output of the EFM and to detect signs of trouble.
  5. Taking action. If the monitor shows certain irregularities in the Fetal Heart Rate or certain corresponding contraction patterns or pressures, the nurses must take immediate action to prevent harm to the child. This could mean anything as simple as changing the position of the mother, to stopping Pitocin/Oxytocin, to calling the doctor to prepping for an emergency cesarean section.   The Obstetrician must also take these actions as well as perform an emergency C-section if necessary.

It’s important for nurses and physicians to monitor the fetus properly before and during delivery. A complication can arise suddenly and quickly at any time. EFM is an essential tool that allows the baby to say that something is wrong, such as the fetus not getting enough blood or oxygen. It works as long as someone is listening.  Improper fetal monitoring by any party during delivery could result in delayed diagnosis of fetal distress, and ultimately injury or death to the baby.

Your Rights as a Parent in Florida

Fetal monitors tell doctors how much oxygen the baby is receiving, how the baby is reacting to uterine contractions if everything is safe and healthy, and if the baby is in trouble prior to delivery. If the hospital staff negligently fails to review the monitor, they could miss something important. Inadequate fetal monitoring could result in failure to administer proper care, causing brain damage or death to the child from issues within the womb, which is medical malpractice.

In Florida, parents have certain time limits from the date of the incident to file a medical malpractice claim against the obstetrician, other hospital staff, and/or the healthcare center itself. Contact our team to start your lawsuit with a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our birth injury attorneys. We can help you learn your rights under Florida law and pursue justice for your child’s injury or wrongful death due to negligent fetal monitoring.

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