There is perhaps no more distressing news than learning of the loss of an otherwise viable fetus. Because of the devastating consequences of fetal injury or demise, the practice of obstetrics is among the medical sub-specialties most prone to medical malpractice actions. Needless to say, every incidence of fetal injury or demise is not the result of medical negligence. Distraught parents who learn of fetal injury or loss are often quick to blame their physicians despite the lack of compelling evidence suggesting any form of medical error. Nevertheless, the failure on the part of obstetricians to identify evidence of fetal distress and to take prompt steps to treat their cause is a common source of obstetrical malpractice cases. Fetal distress, can when the umbilical cord becomes wrapped around the neck of the fetus, thereby interfering with otherwise proper fetal oxygenation resulting in increased fetal heart rates detectable by common fetal monitoring techniques. When such evidence does present, the treating obstetrician must be prepared to intervene by administering the appropriate medications to the mother, or by delivering the baby by way of emergency caesarian section.
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