NICU Errors

babyBabies who are born prematurely often have breathing issues, as well as other conditions, and may require admission into the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for additional care and close monitoring. This is a frightening time for any parent, especially because newborns are often rushed to the NICU with very little explanation as to what is going on.

Unfortunately, mistakes can be made in any part of the hospital. Even the smallest error by a NICU doctor or nurse can have a huge impact on a baby and the way he or she develops, and in the worst cases may result in permanent injury. Below are some of the most common NICU errors.

Medication Errors

According to a study on MedScape[1], between January 1, 1999 and December 31, 2006, there were a total of 6,749 NICU medication errors reported by more than 160 healthcare providers. Nearly half of the errors reported involved administration of medication. Of the 1,788 errors in which there was information provided about the outcome, a majority of those patients (40.9%) required additional and increased monitoring or hospitalization. The next highest amount was 31.8%, and these patients required drug therapy changes or initiation. A low number of patients experienced issues with breathing.

There were 2,706 reports that included information about actions that were taken after the error. Of those reported, 48% resulted in the staff member who made the error being informed and 17.5% involved other staff involved in the error being informed. Just 12.3% of the cases reported education and training, and procedure modifications were present in just 1.2% of the cases.

Failure to Monitor

Babies who are admitted to the NICU require careful and additional monitoring and treatment if necessary. Failure to do so can lead to serious injuries and conditions from which the baby may have a difficult time recovering. Failure to monitor can lead to the baby developing brain damage, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), sepsis, cerebral palsy, meningitis, or other developmental issues.

Failure to monitor can also delay necessary diagnosis and treatments that the baby may require. When certain conditions are left for a prolonged period of time — such as breathing problems, brain bleeds, or hypoxia — it can result in long-term damage to the baby. This is also the case when intubation is necessary to help the baby breathe properly, as a lack of oxygen can lead to brain damage.

Doctor Error

When a baby requires certain treatments, it is up to the doctor to make sure procedures are completed correctly. Some of the more common procedures that may become necessary are ventilation, insertion of a feeding tube or IV, resuscitation, or intubation. If these procedures are not performed properly, it can result in the baby sustaining a serious injury, such as damage to the esophagus or internal organs. Similarly, a delay in providing these treatments can cause severe problems or even result in death, especially in the case of delayed resuscitation.

Houston Birth Injury Lawyers

Any kind of birth injury is serious. It is the responsibility of the doctor to make sure that a baby is properly monitored during the pregnancy, in the labor and delivery process, and after birth. If they fail to do so, or if some other act performed by medical staff causes a baby harm, the parents have the right to seek legal counsel. At Hampton & King, our Houston birth injury attorneys understand how difficult this time can be, which is why we work hard to help you hold the negligent party accountable for their actions.

Call our firm to speak with a skilled legal professional and learn what you may be able to do to seek compensation.