Is the Delivery Room Nurse Responsible for Newborn’s Birth Trauma?

Is the Delivery Room Nurse Responsible for Newborn’s Birth Trauma?

by / Wednesday, 06 October 2021 / Published in Birth Trauma
High angle view of a mother holding a baby.

It takes a team to deliver a baby. In addition to the doctor, there are typically delivery nurses involved in the process to tend to the mother and monitor the baby. If an epidural is used, there will be an anesthesiologist. Or in the case of high-risk pregnancies, a maternal-fetal doctor may be present. In some situations, there may even be other medical professionals present. But when there are many different people involved, the more likely it becomes that mistakes will be made by nurses or other professionals in the delivery room.

Poor Communication

One of the most tragic realities of birth trauma is that in many cases, it could have been prevented. And very often, the root cause of that birth trauma is medical malpractice. Sometimes, lapses in communication between various medical professionals leads to mistakes being made during delivery. For example, let’s say a doctor orders continuous fetal monitoring, but a nurse doesn’t follow through with that monitoring because they didn’t check to see if it was needed. In a situation like that, it could potentially be very dangerous for the child if a complication needs to be addressed, but the warning signs are missed because the child wasn’t monitored as it should have been.

Epidural & Medication Errors

If a delivery involves an epidural, that comes with its own set of risks to both the mother and the child. Because of this, it’s very important to make sure the mother is informed about all the risks and benefits of using an epidural. If they don’t, this can be considered an act of medical negligence. But even if informed consent is obtained, it’s crucial that the epidural be administered correctly and for the mother/child be monitored to make sure there aren’t any complications as a result of the epidural. 

Even if an epidural isn’t involved, mistakes can also be made involving other types of drugs. Pitocin, for instance, is often used if labor is progressing slowly. But pitocin isn’t advisable in all situations and if it’s administered without verifying whether or not it should be used, it could potentially result in serious complications like oxygen deprivation, uterine rupture, or premature separation of the placenta.

Failing to Recognize Signs of Complications

Even in normal, healthy pregnancies, there’s still a chance that complications could occur during delivery and it’s crucial for nurses to be watching for potential signs of complication during labor. For example, a sudden change in the baby’s heart rate could be a sign of distress and it would be very important to act quickly to help deliver the baby as quickly as possible to minimize the risk of harm to the child. Missing those important warning signs could result in things like emergency C-sections being ordered later than they should be. 

Get Help from a Michigan Birth Trauma Lawyer

Birth trauma cases can be very complex. If your family has been impacted by birth trauma, don’t hesitate to contact a birth trauma lawyer who can help you understand your legal options and fight to help you get the compensation you need. Sometimes, it takes time for signs of birth trauma to become apparent and even if your child is a few years old, you may still have legal options. 

At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to talk to Michigan-based lawyers who are experienced in handling both birth trauma and medical malpractice cases. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.

Image: iStock / kieferpix

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