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Is a low heart rate in an infant a sign of medical malpractice?

On Behalf of | Aug 29, 2023 | Birth Injuries

The arrival of a newborn is a joyful event, but it calls for constant monitoring of the health and safety of both mother and infant. One concerning issue that can arise is a low heart rate in the newborn.

A low heart rate can be disconcerting and may be a precursor to lifelong complications. It is, therefore, essential to explore whether it implies a case of medical malpractice.

The importance of infant heart rates

The heart rate of a newborn is a pivotal gauge of their health, particularly throughout labor and delivery. A standard heart rate for an infant during labor typically falls within the range of 110 to 160 beats per minute. This rate can fluctuate in response to contractions and other variables.

Potential causes of low heart rate

A newborn’s low heart rate, or bradycardia, may arise due to various factors that are not always associated with medical malpractice. Some infants might experience transient dips in heart rate owing to pressure exerted on the head and chest during contractions. This is often a natural response to the stresses of labor and is usually momentary.

The link to medical malpractice

While a low heart rate can have benign origins, in certain instances it might be due to medical malpractice. Mishandling of delivery instruments, prolonged deliveries and inadequate oxygen supply during labor can all be examples of negligence that constitute medical malpractice and contribute to a newborn’s low heart rate.

Statistics suggest that, on average, three babies are born with birth injuries every hour in the United States. A low heart rate in a newborn can be a sign of such an injury. If you have concerns regarding your baby’s heart rate, it is important to investigate whether the issue is due to medical malpractice.

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