Posted on 04/01/2022

How fetal acidosis lawsuits work

How fetal acidosis lawsuits work

Any suspicion of fetal acidosis during delivery requires medical providers and personnel to act quickly. Any delay in treatment can be life threatening to your baby.

Before we get into filing a fetal acidosis lawsuit, we’ll explain what fetal acidosis is, how it’s diagnosed, and the causes of fetal acidosis at birth. 

We’ll also explain what’s required to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the medical professionals involved.

If you’d like to speak with an experienced malpractice attorney right away, fill out our intake form for a free consultation.

What is fetal acidosis and how is it diagnosed?

Fetal acidosis occurs during labor when there is a high level of acid in the baby’s blood and fluids. 

This happens when the baby does not receive a sufficient supply of oxygen either during or after delivery.

There are two ways to test and diagnose fetal acidosis. The first is via a blood-gas test that is taken through the umbilical cord to determine the festus’ pH level.

Another blood test should be taken after your baby is born to further test the acidity in their system.

If the attending obstetrician has any suspicion of fetal acidosis, then it is imperative they test to diagnose the acidity levels in your newborn. 

Treatment is required immediately and any delay can cause further health complications, and in the most tragic cases, even death.

Two types of fetal acidosis: Respiratory and metabolic

Natal respiratory acidosis occurs when there is a buildup, or an excess amount of carbon dioxide in the blood. 

One of the most common causes of natal respiratory acidosis is the compression of the spinal cord. An obstetrician can diagnose natal respiratory acidosis if the baby’s blood pH levels are around 7.2

Metabolic acidosis is when the baby doesn’t receive enough oxygen and thus begins to create an excess of lactic acid. The baby needs an efficient amount of oxygenated blood, to naturally metabolize lactic acid. 

A diagnosis of metabolic acidosis is confirmed if the baby’s blood pH levels are around 7.3.

What causes fetal acidosis at birth?

There are several risk factors that most commonly cause fetal acidosis at birth. The most common causes of acidosis that occur during labor include:

  • Placental abruption or a uterine abruption
  • Hypoxia
  • Low blood-pressure or hemorrhages
  • Cephalopelvic disproportion
  • Compression of the baby’s umbilical cord

Additionally, high levels of acid in your baby’s system can cause further birth injuries or health complications such as:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Developmental delays
  • Motor and cognitive defects and delays
  • Seizures
  • Brain damage
  • Paralysis
  • Blindness
  • Cardiac conditions
  • Death

It is critical that if your obstetrician suspects fetal acidosis that they have a plan of action for during and post delivery. Failing to act may result in birth injuries and harm to your baby, an act of medical malpractice.

Preventing fetal acidosis

Fetal acidosis is preventable. 

Medical professionals should assess both the mother and father’s medical history and any other possible risk factors. They should order blood tests to determine the best possible plan of action during the delivery, should anything start to go wrong.

However, most cases of fetal acidosis are diagnosed during labor. 

One of the most common causes of acidosis during delivery is due to hypoxia (or the lack of oxygen). In this case, medical providers are required and trained to monitor and diagnose acid-like symptoms and provide immediate care, if needed.

Do you have a medical malpractice case?

Any proven delay, medical negligence, or mistreatment in care for your baby which resulted in detrimental injuries legally falls under medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice occurs when the attending medical professional, or hospital, did not provide you with the standard level of care or treatment agreed upon within the medical community. Due to this lack of care, you or your child suffered injury.

As we’ve said, fetal acidosis is preventable. A common scenario is if your medical provider did not order the proper tests in the required amount of time, therefore delaying treatment and causing further damage to your baby.

Another example of medical malpractice would be if a mother was experiencing a stressful labor (more than the usual stress) and the attending medical professional and team did not prepare or act in time.

Failure to act urgently can cause further complications during delivery, such as fetal hypoxia from spinal compression.

These kinds of mistakes can lead to severe health complications, and more upsettingly, death, if not properly caught and managed.

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Filing a fetal acidosis malpractice lawsuit

If your baby was diagnosed with fetal acidosis and sustained a birth injury from negligence or medical mistakes, you may have a fetal acidosis malpractice lawsuit.

These kinds of birth injuries not only affect your child and their future, but the entire family as well. 

You give yourself and your child the best chance of returning to normalcy with the help of hiring an experienced medical malpractice legal team, like those at Grover Lewis Johnson.

To prove medical malpractice, your attorney will have to prove three elements,

  1. You had an established relationship with the obstetrician or hospital 
  2. The attending obstetrician or hospital acted with negligence and therefore caused an injury
  3. The injury caused further damages

Damages can be broken down into financial, emotional, and physical damages caused from negligence or malpractice.

This can include medical expenses, physical therapy, counseling, prescriptions, surgery, and any treatments required to manage or treat the injury.

Proving these three factors will require your medical malpractice attorney to investigate, research, organize and assess all of the information.

When you are choosing an attorney to represent you, it’s in your best interest to be fully prepared so that you get the most out of your meeting.

Grover Lewis Johnson is on your side 

If you or your child has sustained a birth injury as a result of negligence or malpractice —you deserve compensation. 

Put your trust in the hands of the medical malpractice team at Grover Lewis Johnson.

We have over 25 years of experience in medical malpractice cases and birth injuries such as fetal acidosis. We understand the distress and burden you and your family may be facing and will fight for you, fearlessly. 

Call us today for a free case evaluation to get started.