An obstetrician or physician does not have one patient but two when examining a pregnant woman. It is important for them to monitor the vital signs, especially the heart rate, of both patients. However, doctors must frequently check a fetus’ heartbeat, given how fragile their health is. Spikes or drops in the heart rate can indicate fetal distress or other serious problems. If a physician fails to monitor the heart, the baby and the mother can experience severe injuries or even death.
Common results of failing to monitor fetal heartbeat include:
- Neurological Injury – The heart pumps blood throughout the body, which carries oxygen. If the brain does not receive the appropriate amount of oxygen, the maybe may sustain brain injuries. This can affect the way they process information, motor skills, and potentially their life.
- Placental Abruption – Placental abruption occurs when the placenta partially or completely separates from the uterine wall prematurely. The baby receives key nutrients from the placenta. Thus, when the separation occurs, the fetus can go into distress. The baby’s heart rate can signify the abruption.
- Prolapsed Umbilical Cord – The umbilical cord connects the baby and mother together. It is a tube like structure that carries nutrients and oxygen to the fetus. During a prolapse, the umbilical cord drops ahead of the baby through the open cervix. The baby can press down on the cord, which can reduce oxygen. The heart rate can alert doctors to this form of distress.
- Hypoxia / Anoxia – Hypoxia refers to the event where less oxygen is reaching the baby, while anoxia means there is no oxygen going to the adequate vessels. A baby’s heart rate will change if they do not receive enough oxygen. If doctors fail to monitor the heart, this event can lead to serious brain injuries.
Doctors are responsible for providing comprehensive care of both mother and child. If they fail to monitor a baby’s heart rate, they put both patients at risk. If you or your child sustained serious injuries because your physician did not monitor heart rates, contact our Nashville birth injury attorneys today.