Cleveland Ohio Birth Injury Attorneys
Meconium aspiration syndrome is an avoidable condition that injures babies every year
For most parents, the birth of a child is a joyous occasion. However, for some parents, the event is traumatic when the child is injured due to the negligence of medical professionals. At The Eisen Law Firm, our experienced Ohio birth injury attorneys recognize when preventable birth injuries occur and hold healthcare professionals responsible for their negligence. Our attorneys aggressively seek justice on behalf of injured babies and their families.
One dangerous complication that may occur during labor and delivery is meconium aspiration syndrome. Meconium is another word for the stool a newborn passes shortly after birth. Usually, meconium is formed while the baby is in the uterus and stays in the bowel until after birth.
However, some babies will pass meconium before they are born—while they are still in the uterus. This can be a dangerous situation for the baby, and it occurs in more than 10 percent of all normal pregnancies.
Generally, a baby releases meconium when stressed in the uterus. Issues with the umbilical cord or the placenta, which can impede the flow of blood and oxygen to the baby, can cause stress to the baby. If meconium is passed in the uterus, it will be suspended in the amniotic fluid. The baby may then inhale it. If meconium makes it into the baby’s lungs, several problems may arise. Meconium aspiration syndrome is the medical name given for a collection of symptoms that result when meconium enters the baby’s lungs before birth.
What are the risk factors for meconium aspiration syndrome?
Meconium aspiration syndrome is more likely when a baby is under stress. Some pregnancies and deliveries are more susceptible to stress than others. Examples include:
- A decrease in the baby’s oxygen supply in the uterus
- Gestational diabetes
- A long, difficult labor or delivery
- High blood pressure in the mother
- If the pregnancy goes longer than 40 weeks, the placenta may “age” and stress the baby
Medical professionals should monitor the mother and baby closely for any signs of these complications. Fetal monitors, x-rays, and a blood gas analysis are all methods that may be used to assess a baby’s health.
Symptoms of meconium aspiration syndrome
Babies that inhale meconium through amniotic fluid may exhibit the following symptoms when they are born:
- Struggling to breathe—grunting, breathing rapidly, or breathing noisily may be observed
- A lack of breathing
- Limpness or lack of muscle tone
- Skin that is bluish in color
Immediate action should be taken if any of these symptoms are noted in a newborn.
Treatment for meconium aspiration syndrome
Treatment for meconium aspiration syndrome depends on the baby’s level of distress. If the baby is not moving and crying after birth, a suction tube should be inserted into the baby’s airway to remove meconium. Supplying extra oxygen, or admitting the baby to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) may also be recommended.
Other types of treatment may include:
- Administering antibiotics
- Providing oxygen
- The use of a radiant warmer to keep the baby’s body temperature elevated
- Using a surfactant to assist the baby’s lungs with processing oxygen
- Using nitric oxide to help the lungs exchange oxygen and assist with blood flow
- In severe cases, a heart/lung bypass machine may be necessary
What can happen if healthcare providers fail to recognize meconium aspiration syndrome
While no one wants to think about doctors and nurses making mistakes and failing to notice something as basic as a newborn’s breathing, mistakes do happen. Most babies with MAS do improve within a few days or weeks. But for those who do not improve or who had more severe aspiration, the damage can be lifelong. These babies are at higher risk for:
- reactive airway disease, an asthma-like narrowing of the airways that causes shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing
- bronchopulmonary dysplasia, a lung disease which can lead to inflammation and scarring in the lungs
- aspiration pneumonia, a severe and life threatening illness
- chronic lung disease
- developmental abnormalities
- hearing loss
If your baby suffered meconium aspiration syndrome and has permanent injuries, we can help. We will review your baby’s medical records to see what types of treatments were administered, if those treatments (or lack of treatment) met the standard of care, and if there is anything we can do to help you and your child get appropriate compensation. We stay abreast of the newest advances in technology that can help your child live a fulfilling life and incorporate these technologies into our Life Care Plans as part of your birth injury claim.
If your baby was injured at birth, contact leading Ohio birth injury attorneys today
If your baby suffered a birth injury, contact the Cleveland birth injury attorneys at The Eisen Law Firm today to discuss your legal options. With the assistance of our attorneys, your legal rights are protected throughout every phase of your case. To schedule your free consultation, call 216-687-0900 or contact us online.