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Meconium Aspiration Syndrome

The birth of a newborn baby is a moment that parents await anxiously with anticipation for nine months. Although modern medicine has made the birthing process much safer than in the past, complications still occur. Meconium aspiration syndrome is a serious respiratory complication which can occur due to high stress levels on the infant at birth. If these stress levels were caused by medical malpractice, the Massachusetts-based attorneys at Altman & Altman LLP may be able to help.

When a baby is growing, once it has developed its intestines, it begins to produce sterile fecal matter called meconium. This organic compound will constitute the baby’s first few bowel movements soon after it is born, and anyone who has ever parented a newborn baby will recognize its unique green color immediately.

However in about 10 percentage of births, a highly stressful birthing environment may force the baby to release this meconium prematurely while still inside the womb. While still in the uterus or even during birth, if the stressful situation continues, it may in some cases cause the baby to prematurely gasp for air, and the meconium may be forced into the infant’s lungs, causing serious complications or even possibly blocking the baby’s airway entirely.

Once a baby who has experienced meconium aspiration syndrome is born, it will display symptoms that something is wrong immediately. It will either be partially covered in the meconium, or will be gasping and breathing heavily, displaying respiratory issues. Doctors must act quickly and suction all meconium from the baby’s airways, treat with antibiotics to fight off possible infection and then place the baby on a respirator and watch carefully for any additional complications.

Some potential causes for a stressful birthing situation could include:

  • An “aged” placenta in a birth that goes far past the due date
  • Decreased oxygen levels in the uterus stemming usually from issues with the placenta or umbilical cord
  • If the pregnant mother has diabetes or high blood pressure
  • A difficult, strenuous or long labor

Malpractice may factor into a child developing meconium aspiration syndrome. The delivery doctor might create a stressful birth situation by misusing birthing instruments or failing to recognize certain symptoms in the mother prior to the baby’s birth. For instance, if the doctor doesn’t recognize that the umbilical cord is in an incorrect birthing position, it may wrap around the baby’s throat and cause a stressful birth. The doctors should also be aware of signs that the fetus may be in distress through prenatal testing.

Once the baby has been born and possibly has developed meconium aspiration syndrome, it is up to the team of doctors to quickly remedy the situation and prevent it from worsening. Should a doctor not recognize the clear symptoms quick enough and it leads to further complications for the newborn, they may be liable in a malpractice suit.

In some cases, meconium aspiration syndrome can lead to lifelong breathing problems or even permanent lung damage. If your child has been impacted by developing meconium aspiration syndrome and you feel as though a doctor or hospital may be at fault for this prognosis, contact the medical malpractice team at Altman & Altman LLP today. We offer free consultations to go over the details of your situation and forge a plan of action to go forward.

We understand how emotional a complication regarding the birth of a child can be, and our team of attorneys has over 50 years of experience handling a wide range of malpractice cases. We not only have the professional knowledge to handle the case, we also have the empathy to make sure that you feel comfortable and assured that we have your best interest in mind throughout the process.

Call us for a free consultation today at 617.492.3000 or toll-free at 800.481.6199. We are available 24/7.

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