What is Bradycardia?

Every parent wants their child to arrive healthy. However, some families experience tragedies, many of which could have been prevented. Neonatal medical issues can be spotted and sometimes resolved prior to birth. What cannot be accounted for in many cases, however, is a medical error or mistake. A medical mistake during childbirth can have catastrophic consequences, and in most cases, medical errors are preventable. When this happens, victims may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Bradycardia is one type of injury that babies can suffer. It happens when there is extreme stress on the baby’s body or oxygen flow is restricted, reducing the baby’s heart rate. A baby’s heart rate should be around 120 beats per minute, and anything below 110 is considered fetal distress. This commonly occurs when the umbilical cord gets wrapped around the baby’s body.    

If this occurs during birth when both the mother’s heart rate and the baby’s heart rate are closely monitored, a doctor may be able to make a swift decision. If the baby’s heart rate drops below 110, the medical team should realize something is wrong. If the heart rate drops below 90, bradycardia sets in. Failure by the medical team to know what is happening and react quickly can cause permanent damage. When bradycardia occurs during birth, an emergency caesarean section may be required.

Bradycardia can also occur prior to birth. Sometimes, it can be caused by the umbilical cord getting wrapped around the baby’s body, just like a birth injury. However, it can also result from medication given to the mother, injections, infection, stress, and many other factors. Certain medications can be used to treat bradycardia early in pregnancy and may require close monitoring until the baby is born.

What is Necrotizing Enterocolitis?

Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is a tragic disease that affects premature infants. The wall of the intestines become covered with bacteria, which causes infection and inflammation. Ultimately, NEC can cause a destruction of the intestines, making bowel spill into the rest of the baby’s body, causing serious infection and death.

When a baby is premature, sometimes the result of an emergency birth due to bradycardia, NEC may follow. If a baby does not have adequate time to develop in the womb, medical issues can snowball. In this way, bradycardia and NEC may be closely related and may have been caused by the same medical error or mistake.

What are the Lasting Impacts of Bradycardia?

When bradycardia is properly diagnosed and treated, it is possible to avoid any long-term impacts to the child. When left untreated for even brief periods, bradycardia can subject the baby to a lifetime of medical issues.

Since bradycardia reduces the brain’s blood flow and oxygen levels, brain function can be damaged. This is the genuine tragedy of untreated bradycardia. In some cases, the baby fully recovers. In other cases, families are not so lucky, and their child suffers permanent brain damage. In many cases, they could experience severe emotional distress and enormous medical bills related to the emergency treatment for their baby.

When a nurse, doctor, or other medical professionals fail to realize what is happening and that a fetus is in danger of losing oxygen supply to the brain, the fetus can suffer brain injuries that will affect the child forever. Brain injuries can result in millions of dollars of medical expenses for the victim. Making sure the baby receives proper medical care and attention should be the sole focus of the parents, not worrying about covering the astronomical medical bills.

How is Bradycardia Treated?

Neonatal bradycardia treatment begins by evaluating the airway. If the baby’s breathing is labored, this is a sign the airway is blocked or otherwise not functioning correctly. In some cases, babies will need assistance with breathing and opening their airway. This begins with a face mask placed over the baby to aid breathing. If that does not work and the heart rate stays low, intubation may be necessary.

It pains parents to see their newborn children suffering so much. It is possible all of this suffering was preventable. That is why families in this position need to speak with a lawyer who can advise them on their rights and help them move forward with getting their baby the treatment they need. This treatment may be required for an extended time, and it is not cheap. However, when all of this pain and suffering is the fault of someone else, they should be the one to cover the medical expenses, not the baby’s parents.

How is Fault Determined in a Medical Malpractice Case?

Nurses, doctors, hospitals, and all other medical professionals owe a duty of care to their patients. If a baby suffers injuries during childbirth, human error could be the cause.

Determining what caused bradycardia in a baby requires an intense and detailed investigation. The hospital may have a policy to conduct their own investigation, but anyone who has a child suffer injuries in a hospital should also have their own investigation. Especially during childbirth, if the medical professionals in the room did not take swift action and perform an emergency caesarean section, the results could be catastrophic. When a baby does not get enough oxygen, they may not survive.

Even if a baby does survive, the time wasted by medical professionals could be a direct cause of additional birth injuries, causing more hardship over the child’s life. All combined, these injuries could cause mountains of medical expenses for the family, on top of the difficulties of doing what is necessary to help their baby heal.

To determine fault, a lawyer may use medical experts to help examine the circumstances and reasons for the baby’s injury. During this investigative process, the lawyer and medical experts may review every step of the medical team and find the cause of the injury. Any mistake made or action not taken in time may lead to the baby’s family being able to recover compensation for the medical bills related to their child’s recovery.

St. Louis NEC Lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC Help Families Impacted by Bradycardia    

When your newborn suffers any injury, you are grateful when they get better. In some situations, a child will continue to suffer, creating additional pain and heartache, but that also creates massive medical bills. If you need help figuring out why your baby suffered injuries so early in life, contact the St. Louis NEC lawyers at The Cates Law Firm, LLC today. Contact us online or call us at 618-277-3644 to schedule a free consultation. Located in Swansea, Illinois, we proudly serve clients throughout St. Louis, Belleville, East St. Louis, Edwardsville, Granite City, Waterloo, Chester, Carbondale, St. Clair County, Madison County, Monroe County, Randolph County, and other regions throughout southern Illinois.