Low APGAR Score

Knoxville Attorney Advocating for Victims of Birth Injuries

The APGAR is a standard tool of newborn wellbeing developed in 1952 by Virginia Apgar. It is used immediately after your baby is delivered. There are test scores provided for one minute and five minutes from the time of birth. If your baby registered low APGAR scores, and you are concerned about birth injuries caused by the negligence of health care providers during the labor or delivery process, you should consult Knoxville birth injury attorney Mark Hartsoe.

Understanding the Significance of Low APGAR Scores

The APGAR assessment looks at the baby's heart rate, color, reflexes, respiratory efforts, and muscle tone. The medical staff will look at whether the baby's body is blue or pale and whether the extremities are blue, as well as the rosiness of the baby, to determine whether the color is right. When looking at pulse rate, they will examine whether the heart rate is less than 100 beats per minute, which is slow, or more than 100 beats per minute, which is fast. They will examine whether the baby responds to stimulation. They will also look at whether the baby is engaged in any activity or has some movement of the joints. They will also look at whether the baby is breathing or has weak breathing efforts, and at the strength of the baby's cry.

The scores are zero to two for each condition, with a maximum final total score of 10. The assessment done at one minute will help a doctor figure out if medical treatment is needed. If the scores are between 7 and 10, a baby needs only routine post-delivery care, while scores between 4 and 6 show that some breathing assistance may be required. If the score falls below 4, immediate lifesaving measures may be necessary.

The five-minute assessment will look at how the baby responds to prior resuscitation attempts if these have been made. A normal score is 7-10. When a score goes below 7, the baby must continue to be monitored and retested in five-minute increments for up to 20 minutes. However, scores falling below the norm do not necessarily indicate permanent medical problems.

APGAR assessments may be repeated later when scores are low. If scores stay low for up to 30 minutes after birth, it is possible that the baby will suffer permanent or long-term neurological injuries. There is also a small risk of cerebral palsy. Conversely, a child's higher APGAR scores do not rule out the possibility of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy or other brain injuries. The purpose of the APGAR score is to immediately decide whether a newborn requires medical care, and it is not necessarily predictive.

However, the APGAR score can sometimes be a sign of a birth injury. Conditions that could cause a low APGAR score include a prolapsed cord, a nuchal cord, uterine rupture, severe preeclampsia, undiagnosed maternal infections, amniotic fluid embolism, placental abruption, shoulder dystocia, and trauma to a baby's head during labor. Sometimes strong frequent contractions caused by Pitocin may deprive a baby of oxygen, such that the result is a birth injury.

Your medical team should act appropriately to reduce the risks to your baby and you. If the medical team, including nurses and physicians, does not respond appropriately to a low APGAR score, the result may be injuries to the baby. It can also be negligence for a hospital to be unprepared to perform necessary resuscitation procedures on a baby with low APGAR scores.

To show medical malpractice, we will need to show that you were owed a professional standard of care, there was a breach of the professional standard of care, there was actual and proximate causation, and you incurred actual damages. Low APGAR scores by themselves do not necessarily indicate that there was medical malpractice. If you suspect that your child has cerebral palsy or another serious birth injury, and they also had low APGAR scores, or if you saw that your doctors did not respond appropriately to low APGAR scores, and your baby was harmed, it may be appropriate to consult an experienced birth injury attorney.

Discuss Your Situation with a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Knoxville

If your baby suffered injuries due to an improper medical response to low APGAR scores, you should talk to an attorney who knows how to investigate these cases. Call the Hartsoe Law Firm in Knoxville at (865) 524-5657 or contact us through our online form. We also represent people in Clinton, Oak Ridge, Alcoa, Louisville, Maryville, LaFollette, Tazewell, Newport, Crossville, Jamestown, Rutledge, Greeneville, Morristown, Chattanooga, Dandridge, Jefferson City, Strawberry Plains, Madisonville, Lenoir City, Loudon, Athens, and other communities in Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Claiborne, Cocke, Cumberland, Fentress, Grainger, Greene, Hamblen, Hamilton, Jefferson, Knox, Monroe, Loudon, McMinn, and Bradley Counties.

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