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Neonatal Resuscitation Errors

Syracuse Lawyers Helping Families Harmed by Birth Injuries

At delivery, your infant may appear to be functioning normally, breathing well with a strong heartbeat. However, some newborns struggle to breathe and may suffer serious birth injuries because of neonatal resuscitation errors. If your family has been harmed by medical error, speak to the experienced Syracuse birth injury attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano to determine whether you have a viable basis to seek damages.

Neonatal Resuscitation Errors

Nurses, doctors and other healthcare staff must recognize when a baby is struggling to breathe and needs resuscitation. Resuscitation may be needed for different reasons including respiratory distress due to inhaling meconium, spinal cord compression, or immature lung development. The goal is to swiftly provide the baby with oxygenation. If a baby isn’t breathing enough to keep oxygen circulating to the brain and heart, the result may be death. Preterm infants are more likely to need resuscitation and health care providers should take appropriate precautions to account for this possibility. Delays in performing resuscitation can lead to severe complications.


Neonatal resuscitation can include warming, stimulating, drying, or suctioning the airway, as well as the provision of supplemental oxygen, CPR, manual ventilation, mechanical ventilation, and administration of medication. Errors in connection with any of these, or simply realizing that resuscitation is needed, may constitute medical malpractice. In order to establish your entitlement to damages for an error, a lawyer will need to show it’s more likely than not: (1) the defendant health care provider was obliged to meet a professional duty of care, (2) the defendant’s departure from professional duty of care, (3) the departure caused you harm, and (4) damages. Breach of the professional duty of care may include a failure to monitor a fetus during labor, failure to monitor a high-risk baby, delay or failure to perform a necessary C-section, delay in performing resuscitation, mistakes in the taken towards resuscitation such as a failure to initiate intubation, delay in resuscitation efforts, improper resuscitation technique, and failure to resuscitate when it’s needed.

Locality Rule

New York follows the locality rule. Under this rule, a plaintiff must establish what the professional standard of care was by showing what a reasonably prudent health care provider in the same specialty and geographic region would have done. For instance, it may be necessary for a provider to intubate an infant, which involves inserting a breathing tube into the infant’s trachea. If a provider tears the trachea, a baby may suffer devastating harm. Premature babies in the NICU are at increased risk of suffering a tear of the trachea because their trachea is smaller. In other instances, improper resuscitation techniques are implemented by health care providers.

Hospital Liability

Sometimes, it’s not only the health care provider that’s individually responsible for a neonatal resuscitation error, but also the hospital’s negligence. A hospital should have experienced staff available to assist with delivery. They should be properly trained in neonatal resuscitation techniques. Additionally, there must be appropriate equipment available.

Wrongful Death

Sometimes babies don’t survive neonatal resuscitation errors. In those cases, it may be possible to sue for wrongful death. While a baby might survive oxygen deprivation, he or she may sustain brain damage as a result, and this can cause permanent health problems. Conditions, such as developmental delays, cerebral palsy, and physical disabilities may occur.


You may be able to recover compensatory damages for birth injuries your child suffers as a result of neonatal resuscitation errors. Nothing can truly make up for a baby’s serious birth injuries, but in some cases, compensatory damages can address losses, including economic losses such as medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, or therapy. The court will also try to quantify noneconomic losses arising out of the error.

If your child died as a result of a neonatal resuscitation error, you may be able to sue for wrongful death and recover pecuniary losses.

Retain a Seasoned Syracuse Attorney

If your baby was harmed by neonatal resuscitation errors in Syracuse, you should discuss what happened with the seasoned attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano. Our firm represents people throughout Upstate New York, in Rochester, Syracuse, Lowville, Watertown, Auburn, Oswego, Ithaca, Canandaigua, Lyons, Oneida, Cooperstown, Elmira, Wampsville, Herkimer, Binghamton, and Utica. Call DeFrancisco & Falgiatano at 833-200-2000 or complete our online form.

Client Reviews
"We were very impressed with how Jeff DeFrancisco represented us at trial and we were extremely happy when the jury found in our favor." D.M., Auburn, NY
"I suffered a serious injury as a result of medical malpractice. My husband and I retained Jeff DeFrancisco to assist us in this case. We were extremely happy with his representation and highly recommend him." Kelley R., Syracuse, NY
Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
"I highly recommend DeFrancisco & Falgiatano - Charlie represented me for a medical malpractice case. He is the best of the best. He is friendly and I am very happy with the representation he provided." Roger N., Oneida, NY