Meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS), though not usually indicative of long-term complications, can have serious effects on an infant’s health if not treated immediately. MAS occurs when an infant inhales a mixture of meconium and amniotic fluid into the lungs around the time of the birth. Meconium is the early form of feces that is passed by the baby before it ingests any sort of breast milk or formula.
If a doctor does not monitor your infant for signs of MAS or fails to immediately treat the symptoms, their actions may be considered medical negligence. You may wish to speak with an attorney about your legal options.
The most obvious and common symptom of MAS is respiratory distress. If your infant stops breathing, or is breathing shallow rapid breaths, his or her airway may be blocked by meconium.
These symptoms may also indicate MAS:
If proper infant monitoring takes place before the delivery, and MAS is treated as soon as possible, recovery rates are quick and injury rates are low.
A doctor can order a blood gas test, chest x-ray, or laryngoscope to diagnose MAS. If MAS is present, the doctor may immediately suction the baby’s nose, mouth, and throat after delivery until no meconium is present. Afterwards, the infant may be sent to a special care unit to observe respiratory functions.
Common treatments for MAS include:
As with most illnesses, early diagnosis is the best tool against MAS. Your doctor can monitor infant distress before the delivery to prevent the stress-induced inhalation of meconium, or treat the baby immediately if MAS is apparent.
Fortunately, if properly treated, MAS will generally resolve itself early in the infant’s life. However, failure on the part of medical staff to diagnose and treat the illness could result in permanent damage. If your infant is suffering from the effects of poorly-treated MAS, contact Murphy, Falcon & Murphy to speak with our team of dedicated birth injury attorneys.
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