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What is meconium aspiration sydrome?

Birth injuries cause permanent disabilities in Texas and in other states every year. Meconium aspiration syndrome, or MAS, is a breathing problem experienced by newborns that can lead to a blocked airway and permanent lung damage in some cases.

MAS is suspected when there is no other known cause for breathing problems and a baby may have passed meconium, or stool, into amniotic fluid during labor or delivery. Occasionally, a baby may aspirate on meconium while still in the uterus.

Meconium can sometimes block the lungs right after birth. Complications from MAS include breathing problems right after birth and inflammation in a newborn's lungs. It is treatable with immediate medical intervention, and the infant may be observed for several days after birth.

There are several risk factors linked to the development of MAS. One risk factor is when the baby is born later than expected as this can cause aging of the placenta. Other risk factors include diabetes or high blood pressure in the pregnant mother, a long or difficult delivery and decreased oxygen levels for the infant while the baby is still inside the uterus.

Signs of MAS include a bluish skin color, labored breathing, no breathing and limpness. Many infants pass meconium into the amniotic fluid and do not breathe it in during birth or develop birth injuries. Signs of MAS can resemble other conditions. In most cases, the infant fully recovers and suffers from no permanent effects.

When birth injuries cause permanent damage an attorney may be able to help families file a claim against negligent medical providers. Medical malpractice cases can be quite complex, and it is important to keep in mind that some birth injuries are not caused by negligence.

In many cases, an expert witness will be able to help explain what went wrong during delivery; expert witnesses are essential to proving a medical malpractice case. An attorney may be able to help families find the best experts to assist with their case.

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