NICU Malpractice: 5 Common Mistakes to Bring to an Attorney

Nurse Caring for Baby After NICU Malpractice

When a child is born, their delivery process is completely unique. Sometimes, a baby may need additional support within the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for additional observation and intensive care. The NICU is a specialized place for newborns who need long-term care for rare conditions, post-surgical recovery and more. However, there may be times where a newborn and their family will suffer NICU malpractice because of a negligent act by their doctor or the care unit team.

As mothers and fathers ourselves, we understand the lack of trust and sadness you and your family may be feeling after your infant experienced such an act of mistreatment. Our attorneys are trained to help you navigate common mistakes and gather the evidence you need to move forward in the future.

What conditions require care in the NICU? 

Babies will spend time in the NICU for various reasons, but one of the most common is due to a premature delivery. Babies are considered premature if they are born before 37 weeks of the pregnancy. According to the Mayo Clinic, premature births often include health problems such as trouble feeding, breathing problems, underdeveloped organs and/or a smaller size.

Outside of prematurity, babies may need to visit the NICU after a doctor recognizes one or more of these conditions:

  • Delivery via c-section
  • Delivery via medical devices such as forceps
  • Infections
  • Heart complications
  • Birth defects
  • Jaundice
  • Respiratory distress
  • Low blood sugar
  • A blood transfusion
  • Receiving IV fluids or other medications
  • Observation following fetal distress in labor
  • Management of brain injuries

If your doctor fails to recognize, request further care or neglects the standard of treatment, they may be at fault for NICU malpractice if your baby’s condition worsened.

What are the five common mistakes in NICU malpractice cases?  

When NICU malpractice cases come to light, they can be very disheartening and overwhelming for newborn parents. An experienced medical malpractice attorney will be able to help you spot the six common mistakes and help you file a claim to right the wrongs in your child’s care.

The common mistakes a doctor may make in a NICU malpractice case includes:

1. Failure to Diagnose or Treat. Many infants are taken to the NICU for an infection that was transmitted from mother to baby. If an infection or specific illness is detected, a doctor may need to begin antibiotics immediately to adequately treat the infection. If they are not treated quickly or assessed at all, doctors may be liable in a NICU malpractice lawsuit.

2. Failure to Monitor. Children in the NICU need to be monitored regularly for signs of distress, administration of medication or for observation on medical equipment. Also, if your baby has a specific condition that is not monitored and the condition worsens, doctors may be at fault for not paying close enough attention to warning signs such as infant distress or lack of oxygen.

3. Medication Errors. Doctors and care teams must be diligent in the administration of medications in any patient, but especially for premature and newborn infants. If your baby receives an inadequate dosage of a medication and it causes harm, it may lead to a NICU malpractice lawsuit.

4. Resuscitation Errors. Issues with resuscitation are often extremely distressing and sometimes fatal. If a newborn is not properly breathing, your doctor must create an airway to allow for oxygen. If this is not complete or done in a timely fashion, it may lead to serious birth injuries such as cerebral palsy or other brain injuries from lack of oxygen.

5. Breathing Assistance Errors. Babies in the NICU often need respiratory support through oxygen machines, ventilators and other respiratory assistance devices. Errors in the monitoring of these devices may deprive an infant of oxygen and lead to serious complications down the line.

What are injuries that may result from these mistakes? 

Newborns in the NICU are extremely susceptible to illness and injury since their bodies are in a very fragile state. When NICU-related injuries are a direct result of a doctor’s neglect, they may lead to drastic family life changes, long-term recovery or deadly consequences. The most common injuries that result from NICU malpractice include:

Turn to a NICU Malpractice Attorney

If you suspect your doctor was negligent in caring for your baby, it is important to consult with an attorney to explore your options. Our team of medical malpractice attorneys is here to help you in your family’s pursuit of justice. Contact us today for a free consultation to begin building your case.

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