Hospitals have developed detailed delivery room procedures to keep patients safe. The doctors and nurses are in the delivery room are required to follow these procedures, which are focused on monitoring the mother and baby to ensure that they receive all necessary medical care and medication. To the extent that medical personnel fail to properly monitor their patients, this can lead to serious birth injuries.
Examples of labor and delivery errors include:
- Improper use of forceps, vacuum or other delivery room tools and equipment. Failure to carefully use these tools can cause injury to the baby during the delivery.
- Failure to determine that the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck.
- Failure to protect the baby from Erb’s palsy, which can occur when the doctor pushes or pulls on the baby’s head during a shoulder dystocia delivery.
- Failure to conduct ongoing fetal heart monitoring. This failure can cause staff to miss signs of fetal distress, losing the opportunity to intervene in order to prevent birth injuries.
- Failure to monitor the baby for insufficient oxygen to the baby’s brain.
- Improper anesthesia administration: If improperly administered, epidurals can interfere with the second stage of labor. This can cause low blood pressure in the mother, increasing risk to mother and baby.
- Other types of errors by doctors can result in delayed delivery and this can lead to a wide variety of problems. One potential injury is cerebral palsy, a brain injury that affects balance and muscle coordination as the baby grows up.
- Failure to diagnose other dangerous conditions, including uterine rupture (where there is a tear in the uterus) or placental abruption (where the placenta separates from the uterine wall prior to the birth of the baby).
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