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Fetal Heart Monitoring Errors

Syracuse Lawyers for Victims of Birth Injuries

When you are in labor and your baby is being delivered, your health care provider will perform fetal heart rate monitoring. This monitoring is important to a baby’s health and safety. If your child is born with birth injuries and you suspect it might be because of a fetal heart monitoring error, you can consult a seasoned Syracuse birth injury attorney. Birth injury cases are complex and usually require expert testimony. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our experienced trial attorneys possess a deep understanding of medical malpractice law and compassion for families that are struggling with the financial and emotional costs of birth injuries. We may be able to help you.

Fetal Heart Monitoring Errors

During fetal heart monitoring, a baby’s heart rate is checked throughout labor and delivery with special equipment. Health care providers are trained to use monitors to figure out whether a baby’s oxygen supply has been adversely affected. If a mother is two to three centimeters dilated, the baby’s heart rate can be measured internally via the baby’s scalp. There is also external monitoring that can be performed; in external monitoring, a monitor is attached to a belt around the mother’s stomach to record the fetal heart rate along with the mother’s contractions.

If an abnormal fetal heart rate is not detected and labor and delivery progress without intervention, a baby may be injured through oxygen loss. A health care provider’s mistake during fetal heart monitoring may involve her failure to monitor uterine contractions, failure to identify an abnormal fetal heart rate, failure to decide whether a mother needs more monitoring, failure to use the fetal monitor appropriately, or failure to distinguish between the baby’s heart rate and the mother’s heart rate. A health care provider should act promptly if there is fetal distress.

What Birth Injuries May Result from Fetal Heart Monitoring Errors?

A baby may be born with birth injuries as a result of a health care provider’s mistakes during fetal monitoring. Birth injuries may include cerebral palsy, nerve damage, brain damage, paralysis, and developmental delays. Sometimes fetal monitoring errors result in stillbirth.


You can establish liability for medical malpractice related to birth injuries by showing: (1) the defendant owed a professional duty of care to you and the baby, (2) breach of the professional standard of care, (3) causation, and (4) damages. The professional standard of care is determined by looking at what other competent health care providers in the same geographic area and specialty would do under the same or similar circumstances.

To determine whether there was malpractice, an expert will look at what other competent OB-GYNs in the Syracuse area would have done with regard to fetal heart monitoring under the same circumstances. There may be a breach of the duty to use reasonable care where a health care provider acts incompetently, but there can also be a breach when a health care provider fails to act even though she has a duty to do so.


If you can establish liability for birth injuries arising out of a fetal heart monitoring error, it may be possible to recover damages. Sometimes birth injuries require lifelong medical care, which can be highly expensive. You may be able to recover compensation for both economic and noneconomic losses arising out of the birth injuries.

Consult a Seasoned Birth Injury Attorney in Syracuse

Most families do not have enough saved in case their baby is born with serious birth injuries like cerebral palsy or brain damage. If your baby was harmed as a result of fetal heart monitoring errors in Syracuse, you can talk to a seasoned birth injury lawyer. DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represents families in Rochester, Syracuse and everywhere in Upstate New York, including in Canandaigua, Watertown, Oswego, Lowville, Herkimer, Utica, Cooperstown, Oneida, Ithaca, Wampsville, Auburn, Binghamton, Lyons, and Elmira. Call DeFrancisco & Falgiatano at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form.

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