Low Apgar Scores
The Apgar scoring system was developed in 1952 by the obstetric anesthesiologist Virginia Apgar. Newborns are given scores of 1-10. The higher an Apgar score, the better the newborn is doing after being born. Generally, 7,8 and 9 are normal scores. However, sometimes a newborn has low Apgar scores. If your child had low Apgar scores and you believe they are reflective of birth injuries, you may be able to recover compensation. The skillful Syracuse birth injury attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano may be able to help you pursue damages.Low Apgar Scores
The Apgar test provides a rapid assessment of how a newborn is doing after he or she is delivered. It measures a newborn’s muscle tone, respiratory effort, color, heart rate, and reflexes. The Apgar is utilized at one minute and five minutes after a baby is born. The one minute test gives information about a baby’s physical health and helps a doctor decide whether future or immediate medical treatment will be needed. If there is a score between 7-10, that means routine care must be provided. However, if the score is 4-6, there may be some breathing assistance needed. When the scores are low — four or less— rapid lifesaving measures are required.
The five minute test looks at whether the baby responded to previous efforts. If the score is 7-10 at five minutes, that means the baby is doing normally. When the score is below seven, the baby will keep being monitored and tested at five-minute increments for a period of time. Low Apgar scores at this stage don’t necessarily mean that a newborn will be permanently harmed. However, in some cases, it’s a sign that there were problems with labor or delivery.Medical Malpractice
The Apgar score is considered a reliable test about how well a newborn is doing, and it is often correlated with birth injuries or even death. Sometimes Apgar scores are used as proof for certain types of medical malpractice claims against OB-GYNs who deliver babies. For example, a baby that suffers hypoxia or oxygen deprivation may have suffered a birth injury. Consistently low Apgar scores over multiple retests may mean that a baby will suffer a birth injury such as cerebral palsy or another condition that requires care and rehabilitation over a period of years.
Often doctors and health care providers retain skillful attorneys and experts who claim that a good Apgar score meant that a child’s later evident brain injury wasn’t caused by labor and delivery. Complicating matters, certain factors like the extent of neonatal resuscitation could artificially elevate an Apgar score. However, sometimes low Apgar scores are caused by errors during labor and delivery, and the result is serious harm to the baby. Birth injury lawsuits are exceptionally difficult cases to pursue and often require very good expert testimony. Certificate of Merit
Birth injury lawsuits are a kind of medical malpractice lawsuit. When you are pursuing damages from health care providers for medical malpractice, whether for yourself or your baby, you’ll need to have an expert review your case even before you sue. The New York Civil Practice Law and Rules Section 3012-a requires a certificate of merit to be filed.
You will send your medical records, including the low Apgar scores, to an expert, like a board certified OB-GYN, and explain what happened. You will need to consult with the expert and determine whether there’s a reasonable basis to sue your health care provider or providers for your baby’s birth injuries.Dedicated Birth Injury Attorneys Serving Syracuse
Low Apgar scores may or may not indicate that birth injuries occurred. It is important to work with an experienced and credible health care provider expert if you plan to seek damages for medical negligence. The lawyers at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano represent parents and babies injured by medical malpractice in and around Syracuse. We also sue negligent health care providers for damages in Rochester, Cooperstown, Canandaigua, Utica, Oswego, Watertown, Lowville, Wampsville, Oneida, Lyons, Delhi, Herkimer, Ithaca, Binghamton, Norwich, Auburn and Elmira. Please call us at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form.