Did the doctors miss this condition with your baby’s brain injury? To put the question another way, do you think that the improper treatment of fetal distress is what lead to your baby’s brain injury at birth? Believe it or not, there are a lot of parents who are not familiar with fetal distress and how if not properly diagnosed and treated, it can lead to devastating injuries for a baby, namely a brain injury and subsequent cerebral palsy diagnosis, or even death.


In this Maryland birth injury educational article, I will focus on fetal distress and its treatment from a medical/legal standpoint. If this is your first time reading about this concept it is my hope that this article and supporting video will allow you to start on the path of finding answers for your baby.




For the purpose of this article, fetal distress essentially means that the baby is not tolerating a vaginal delivery. To say it another way, fetal distress can point to the signs which show that the baby’s wellbeing is in trouble. Why this condition can be bad for a baby is that it usually means that the baby is being deprived of oxygen.


Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, or HIE, is a medical condition that can sometimes be the result of fetal distress. In some cases, parents will see HIE mentioned in their child’s birth and medical records. HIE is a fancy way of saying that the baby is suffering from a reduced level of blood and oxygen which leads to a brain injury. Parents may have a baby who has suffered from fetal distress and HIE if the following has occurred:


  • Seizures following birth
  • Baby blue in color
  • Meconium present (the baby’ stool and normally seen when the water breaks)
  • Handoff to NICU following birth




When we mention the question did doctors miss this condition with your baby’s brain injury, we are talking about the failure of the doctors and nurses to identify and treat fetal distress. You may be asking yourself how do doctors know if a baby is dealing with fetal distress? One way is for doctors and nurses to correctly read the electronic fetal heat monitor and treat accordingly.


What is the electronic fetal heart monitor? It is a device that is used to monitor the baby’s heart rate, among other things. The monitor can let doctors know, for example, if the baby’s heart rate is too high or if it is too low. Things like the baby’s heart rate, coupled with other conditions like meconium, can be strong indicators that the baby may be in distress. When this is the case, doctors have to be ready to treat the fetal distress and help the baby. Below are some of the treatment options for fetal distress:


  • Giving mother oxygen
  • Changing the mother’s position
  • C-Section delivery


If some of the conservative treatments for fetal distress are not working, then doctors must be ready when warranted to move to an emergency C-section. Failure to do so can lead to fetal hypoxia, or HIE, and in extreme cases, death.




Did the doctors miss this condition with your baby’s brain injury? As I stated earlier, not all patents who contact us are at all familiar with fetal distress, let along hear the doctors talk to them at all about the condition. If you have more questions regarding your baby’s brain injury at birth, this is what I invite you to do.


Pick up the phone and give me a call. I can be reached at 301-850-4832. I answer Maryland birth injury and medical malpractice questions just like yours all the time and I will be happy to listen to your story.


Marcus B. Boston, Esq.

Boston Law Group, LLC

2 Wisconsin Circle, Suite 700

Chevy Chase, Maryland 20815



1-833-4 BABY HELP


Marcus Boston is a Maryland medical malpractice attorney who helps people navigate the Maryland childbirth injury and medical malpractice process to get money for their injuries caused by the carelessness of doctors and hospitals. BLG handles cases in Prince George’s County, Baltimore City, Montgomery County, Howard County, Anne Arundel County, and all other Maryland Counties. blgesq.com