When a baby breaths meconium (newborn’s first bowel movement) immediately before or during delivery into her lungs they may develop a complication known as meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS). When properly treated with suctioning and a course of antibiotics, most babies with MAS fully recover. However, when medical staff fail to identify newborns with MAS, the child risks serious complications that can lead to permanent injuries and disabilities.
Causes Of Meconium Aspiration
Most cases of MAS derive from the fact that the baby suffered some form of fetal distress during the delivery process. When babies are not getting an adequate supply of blood and oxygen, their bodies are thought to respond to the stress by expelling meconium. Knowing the complications that can ensue following fetus distress, doctors must carefully monitor the health of the baby. The most important method of monitoring fetal health is believed to be fetal monitoring in order to determine a complication at its onset.
Signs Of Meconium Aspiration Syndrome
Any obstetrician should know the dangers and signs of MAS. Children born that have meconium in the amniotic fluid are at a much higher risk, 100-fold, of developing respiratory diseases and other complications. When the meconium is released into the amniotic fluid, it is visible as a dark green color and should be the first sign that the child may have breathed in the substance. In addition, the child often will have symptoms such as:
- Labored breathing
- Bluish skin color
If the child is treated for MAS immediately, they most likely will not have any long term problems. However, when these signs are ignored due to negligence, the child is in danger of severe health problems.
Serious Complications Derived From Untreated MAS
When MAS occurs, most likely the child already had a difficult birth, causing distress. The attending doctor and nursing staff has a responsibility to be aware of any possible problems that may arise from the stress of birth, including MAS. When a newborn is not treated for this condition, the child will often times have difficulty breathing and become short on oxygen. The lungs can be greatly compromised as well. Due to these complications, the child may suffer:
- Aspiration pneumonia
- Collapsed lung
- Brain damage
- Persistent pulmonary hypertension- inability to get adequate oxygen supply throughout the body
These complications, especially brain damage, can lead to permanent mental and physical disabilities. The true extent of the damage may not be noticeable at first, but as the child develops, cognitive and behavioral issues may become apparent. These can be life long disabilities that can cause physical, emotional and financial problems for both the child and their family.
Medical Malpractice Lawyers Prosecuting Meconium Aspiration Cases
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers work with some of the leading doctors who can evaluate fetal monitoring strip and other medical records to evaluate meconium aspiration syndrome cases. Our Illinois birth injury lawyers can then work up the case with goal of determining the full extent of your child’s injuries and then protecting your child’s future needs. For example, in many of our birth injury lawsuits, we retain the services of a life-care planner who can evaluate the needs of each child for their immediate and ling-term care needs. We then utilize the services of an economist who can extrapolate the economic costs of these care expenses.
While these cases do require a tremendous amount of work to get going, our intent is and always will be to provide for the best possible outcome for each case and protect the legal rights of each child.
Related materials from Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers:
- Should parents be concerned if their child has been diagnosed with meconium aspiration syndrome?