During labor women are often administered supplemental oxygen to assist with their breathing and to ensure that the unborn child is receiving adequate oxygen during the process of labor and delivery. While maternal oxygen administration can prove helpful to both the mother and the baby, there are instances in which maternal oxygen administration can have an adverse effect on the unborn fetus. This is especially true if maternal oxygen administration is carried out liberally for an extended period of time. During times of maternal oxygen administration it is important that the unborn baby’s oxygen levels be monitored to ensure that the pH levels of the baby’s blood are not in decline.
Declining pH levels indicate that the fetus is being deprived of oxygen, and oxygen deprivation can occur during maternal oxygen administration as the blood vessels in the umbilical cord and placenta constrict due to the increased level of oxygen in the mother’s body.
This in effect cuts off the oxygen supply to the unborn baby. When an unborn baby suffers a birth injury as a result of poorly monitored maternal oxygen administration, the doctors and nurses attending the labor and delivery may be held liable for medical malpractice.
It is the responsibility of the doctors and nurses in attendance of a woman’s labor and delivery to ensure that both the mother and the unborn baby are receiving the proper medical care they need. The medical community has established standards of patient care by which all licensed health care providers are expected to abide and medical protocols have been established to help doctors and nurses make certain they have taken all necessary steps to guard the health of the mother and her unborn child. When maternal oxygen administration occurs, doctors and nurses not only need to monitor the mother’s oxygen levels but the unborn baby’s oxygen levels as well. If the doctors of nurses fail to properly monitor oxygen levels during maternal oxygen administration, the health and wellness of both the mother and the baby could be jeopardized. Failing to monitor oxygen levels is an act of negligence on the part of the doctors and nurses and may be considered medical malpractice.
When an unborn baby experiences oxygen deprivation during labor and delivery various types of birth injuries may result. These injuries may result in permanent and severe physical and mental disabilities that negatively affect the child’s quality of life. Parents should ensure that during maternal oxygen administration the unborn baby’s oxygen levels are closely monitored. If mother’s health care providers fail to monitor oxygen levels and her child is injured as a result, the parents may want to consider filing a medical malpractice claim. The monies obtained through a medical malpractice claim can help parents pay for expensive medical bills and for their child’s special medical and educational needs.