Meconium Aspiration

After nine months of preparing and waiting, there can be nothing more devastating for parents to hear that their newborn has suffered a birth injury. If your child has suffered injuries during labor or delivery due to medical negligence, contact a law office today.

One of the common preventable errors lawyers see is meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS). When a baby is in its mother’s womb, it does not breathe oxygen through the lungs. This is because the baby is totally surrounded by amniotic fluid. Oxygen is delivered to the baby through the umbilical cord.

As the baby develops, it will take what are often referred to as practice breaths. These breaths draw clean amniotic fluid into the baby’s lungs, however, there is no harm to the baby at all.

Just before or during the baby’s birth, the baby may excrete feces into the amniotic fluid. This is referred to as meconium. If the baby inhales or aspirated the meconium, the meconium can become trapped in the airways and the baby may not be able to breathe upon delivery.

MAS occurs in about 11 percent of all births. In most cases, medical professionals will recognize this is happening and will quickly take the steps to treat it. But if they fail to recognize the baby is in distress and the meconium is not removed, the infant can be left with brain damage, lung damage, and permanent hearing loss.

Prompt treatment of meconium aspiration is not difficult since the signs of MAS is easily identifiable. Treatment should begin even before the baby comes fully out of the birth canal. Medical staff should clear the baby’s airway, making sure the baby is receiving enough oxygen. Treatment for or to prevent airway infections should also be administered. In severe cases, the medical team can use an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine, which acts an artificial heart and lung system and makes sure the baby is receiving enough oxygenated blood flow.

There are some factors that indicate that a baby may be more at risk for meconium aspiration, increasing the possibility that the baby will release meconium and breathe it in during delivery:

  •       The baby was born past 40 weeks gestation
  •       The mother had a uterine infection
  •       The baby experienced some type of distress during delivery

Contact a Birth Injury Attorney Today

If your baby suffered birth trauma and you suspect negligent medical care was the cause, contact a birth injury attorney today. They will schedule a free case evaluation and determine what kind of financial compensation your family may be entitled to.