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Syracuse Lawyers Helping Families Affected by Birth Injuries

Amniotic fluid is crucial for a baby’s growth. In addition to cushioning the baby, it assists with growth of the gastrointestinal tract, the kidneys, and the lungs. The baby’s lungs and kidneys create the fluid. When oligohydramnios is present, your baby develops with too little amniotic fluid during pregnancy. This can result in complications and harm the baby. If your oligohydramnios resulted in birth injuries, you should talk to the experienced Syracuse birth injury attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano.


Different situations can result in oligohydramnios. The condition can be caused by many circumstances including placental issues; water breaking prior to labor; birth defects; identical twin pregnancies where the twins share a placenta; post-date pregnancies; certain maternal conditions like preeclampsia and poor fetal growth. Sometimes amniotic fluid leaks due to the sac breaking or the uterus is much smaller than warranted based on the date of your pregnancy. Risk factors include maternal dehydration, hypoxia and preeclampsia.

In most cases, oligohydramnios is diagnosed in the third trimester. It increases the chances of stillbirth, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, premature birth, meconium aspiration, cerebral palsy, and intrauterine growth restriction. A doctor’s failure to diagnose or treat oligohydramnios that results in harm to a baby may be the basis for a birth injury lawsuit.

Failure to Diagnose

Oligohydramnios may be diagnosed through different types of ultrasounds. It may be detected with an ultrasound given to test amniotic fluid level, an ultrasound performed in response to uterine size, an ultrasound provided in response to premature rupture of membranes, or an incidental finding in a routine ultrasound. However, sometimes health care providers fail to diagnose oligohydramnios. They may fail to provide a needed exam or ultrasound or they may fail to spot an abnormality on an ultrasound image once it’s taken. Pregnant women who have risk factors for oligohydramnios may need to be assessed for amniotic fluid once a week. With certain measurements, they may need to be assessed twice a week.


In order to recover damages for birth injuries caused by improperly diagnosed or treated oligohydramnios, you’ll need to show: (1) your doctor owed you and your baby a professional standard of care, (2) departure from the professional standard of care, (3) the departure caused birth injuries, and (4) damages. Departures from the professional standard of care could include a failure to properly monitor a baby and mother during pregnancy, failure to obtain a thorough medical history of the mother, failure to prevent the maternal medical conditions that can result in decreased amniotic fluid, failure to order or perform a timely delivery of the baby, and failure to obtain informed consent related to treatment for oligohydramnios.

In a birth injury lawsuit, the plaintiff must retain a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist as an expert even before filing suit. The majority of lawsuits alleging medical malpractice in New York must be filed with a certificate of merit attesting that the plaintiff’s lawyer consulted with an expert as to whether the lawsuit was meritorious.

The expert may need to testify about the professional standard of care for treating oligohydramnios, how the physician breached the standard of care, and whether the breach resulted in a birth injury. New York follows the locality rule. The expert must be familiar with the professional standard of care for specialists within the defendant’s practice area and geographic region.

Failure to Treat

When oligohydramnios is improperly managed, it can result in birth injuries. Sometimes these birth injuries cause permanent disabilities. Treatment for oligohydramnios depends on the severity of the condition and can include regular checkups, monitoring, amnioinfusion, or early delivery. When there’s too little amniotic fluid for an extended period, a baby’s lungs may develop abnormally and there may be pressure on the umbilical cord. When your doctor fails to treat amniotic fluid levels and your baby suffers hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy due to that failure, you may be able to recover damages for the birth injuries.

Consult an Attorney in Syracuse

If your baby sustained birth injuries due to a failure to diagnose or improper management of oligohydramnios, you may be able to sue for damages. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our lawyers represent people in Rochester, Syracuse, and other Upstate New York cities. These cities include Oswego, Lyons, Oneida, Cooperstown, Binghamton, Auburn, Canandaigua, Wampsville, Watertown, Ithaca, Utica, Elmira, Lowville and Herkimer. Call DeFrancisco & Falgiatano at 833-200-2000 or via our online form.

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"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
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