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Negligence can cause or exacerbate meconium aspiration

The birthing process may seem relatively straightforward, especially considering how many births occur each year in the U.S. Additionally, doctors and nurses have extensive training and experience that allows them to prepare for the unexpected and act appropriately when complications arise.

Yet, medical professionals sometimes fail to act properly, which can result in a devastating outcome for mothers and their babies.

One condition that can cause serious problems is meconium aspiration. A baby will generally pass its first meconium, a form of feces, while in the womb. Sometimes, though, a baby can wind up inhaling this meconium along with amniotic fluid. As a result, a baby's airways can become blocked. These blockages can irritate the lungs, disallow lung tissue to properly expand, and make it difficult to breathe. Infection is also a very real possibility.

Meconium Aspiration Syndrome, as the condition is termed, is usually correlated to some sort of fetal distress. A challenging delivery, a long delivery, umbilical cord issues and poor uterine growth can all contribute to the problem.

The key to preventing serious harm from occurring is quick diagnosis and effective treatment. A doctor who suspects meconium aspiration, as evidenced by a number of symptoms including difficulty breathing and a low heart rate, may use a laryngoscope to remove any meconium from the trachea. Tests may also be conducted to determine whether a baby is getting enough oxygen to its lungs. After these tests are run, doctors should be able to take appropriate steps to prevent additional harm.

Sadly, though, doctors sometimes fail to recognize the signs of meconium aspiration, or they improperly act on those symptoms that are present. Tests can be inaccurately interpreted, and treatment may be improperly administered. A medical error can even cause meconium aspiration in the first place. Although most babies fully recover from this condition, some do suffer serious harm such as a collapsed lung, pneumonia, hearing loss, chronic lung disease, brain damage, and even death.

Indiana families who are affected by this condition and other birth injuries as caused by medical malpractice may want to speak to an attorney about finding accountability and recovering the compensation they deserve.

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