Failure to Diagnose Abnormal Fetal Heartbeat and Decreased Fetal Movement

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The late stages of a pregnancy can be extremely stressful for the parents, particularly for first time mothers who are unsure what are signs of active labor and what are Braxton-Hicks contractions or other normal parts of late stage pregnancy. Many mothers make multiple visits to the emergency room or OB triage to be reassured things are okay. Too often, the parents are made to feel bad about wasting the nurses’ and doctors’ time, increasing the likelihood the mother will be afraid to return even if something goes terribly awry.

One of the most difficult times for a mother is when they feel something is wrong, but there are not clear signs such as bleeding or contractions. In these cases, mothers will call their doctor, and are often advised to do things such as counting fetal movements. Unfortunately, by the time enough time elapses for the mother to be sure the baby is not moving as much as expected, the pregnancy might be in danger.

When this happens, the mother will often rush to the hospital, but even then she is faced with a medical establishment that often fails to act quickly enough. The mother may face:

  • Being asked questions about insurance and medical history that delay treatment
  • Being put in a room and ignored
  • Being checked for other issues before fetal heartbeat and movement are addressed

These delays in treatment are often fatal for the baby, or result in developmental disabilities when the child has an anoxic event or other significant health issue. An abnormal heartbeat or decreased fetal movement are significant warning signs that the baby is at risk and an emergency C-section may be necessary.

If your baby suffered due to a delayed diagnosis, or if the mother suffered additional complications because of this failure by the medical professionals, please consider consulting with an experienced lawyer. Holding doctors and nurses responsible for these inactions is the only way to pressure the medical community to do better by expectant mothers.