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Proper fetal monitoring after accident or trauma essential

Pregnant women in North Carolina are at increased risk of suffering blunt trauma to their unborn children during a traffic accident, according to MedScape.com. Analysis of possible risk factors indicates fetal injury is 8 percent more likely in cases where the mother was unrestrained at the time of the accident, and fetal death is much more likely for women who are in their 20th to 27th weeks of pregnancy, suggesting this is a particularly vulnerable time for the fetus.

In the case of blunt trauma to a pregnant woman, a treatment protocol designed to stabilize both mother and child is indicated, requiring constant monitoring and broad-range physical testing to determine both scope and severity of injury. According to this protocol, C-section may be a viable consideration if the fetus is more than 25 weeks and shows signs of distress.

Improper or inadequate monitoring could result in low birth weight, possible brain damage or death of the fetus. The Medscape article recommends continues monitoring for no less than 24 hours to reduce the risk of the fetus going into shock after the accident. Pregnancy trauma can have consequences that a similar accident for a non-pregnant woman would not, making vigilant, ongoing care essential. Failure to observe proper observation or treatment protocols could result in further injury to the mother and child.

If appropriate treatment protocols are not followed, this would be an indication of negligent staff, negligent monitoring or both. A negligent delivery room staff could impose further injury with potentially devastating long-term consequences. The type and severity of any injuries caused as a result of medical malpractice would determine what avenues to explore in determining liability and damages that need compensation, including unnecessary medical bills, long-term care, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering.

Source: Medscape, "Blunt Trauma", Steven D Schwaitzberg, December 24, 2014

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