Meconium Aspiration

Work With Our Medical Malpractice Attorneys Located in Baltimore, Maryland

Meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS) occurs when a newborn baby breathes in a mixture of meconium (the newborn’s feces) and amniotic fluid around the time of delivery.

Warning Signs

When an infant inhales meconium, it can block the airway partially or completely. MAS can occur before, during, or after labor and delivery. It occurs in about 5% to 10% of births and it can lead to illness and death. MAS typically occurs when a fetus is stressed during delivery, particularly if it is past the due date. Symptoms that may indicate MAS include bluish skin color; breathing problems (difficulty breathing, no breathing, or rapid breathing); dark, greenish staining or streaking of the amniotic fluid; obvious presence of meconium in the amniotic fluid; or limpness in the infant at birth.

Diagnosis & Care

The most accurate way to determine whether or not an infant has MAS is by using a laryngoscope to determine if there is meconium staining on the newborn’s vocal cords. Prior to delivery, the fetal monitor may show a slow heart rate, which can be an indicator of the illness, as can abnormal, coarse, crackly breathing heard through a stethoscope after delivery. A chest x-ray may show patchy or streaky areas on the infant’s lungs. If the infant needs assistance breathing, they may have a low Apgar score, and a blood gas analysis will likely show low blood pH, decreased oxygen, and an increased presence of carbon dioxide.

The severity of MAS greatly depends on how much meconium was inhaled by the infant; typically, more inhaled meconium increases seriousness. In most cases of MAS, the prognosis is excellent and there are no lasting effects. In severe cases, breathing problems may persist for up to four days. If an infant has a prolonged lack of oxygen in utero, the chances of permanent brain damage increases. Rare but possible complications include aspiration pneumonia, collapsed lung, and persistent pulmonary hypertension.

Expenses

Caring for a child who suffered from meconium aspiration syndrome that resulted in brain damage can be devastating and the long-term costs can be substantial. If your infant’s MAS was the result of a doctor or caregiver’s negligence or failure to act, you may be eligible for compensation for neonatal care, long-term rehabilitation and medical expenses, and pain and suffering.

Contact our medical malpractice lawyers for a free evaluation of your claim.

Treatment Centers

The individual who is delivering the infant should suction the newborn’s mouth as soon as the head can be seen during delivery. If the infant is not active and crying immediately following delivery, the physician will typically place a tube in the trachea and apply suction as the endotracheal tube is withdrawn. This process will generally be repeated until there is no sign of meconium in the contents. Other treatment options include dispensing antibiotics to treat infection, use of a breathing machine to keep the lungs inflated, use of a warmer to maintain normal body temperature, as well as tapping on the chest to loosen any secretions.

Books & Resources

For more information on meconium aspiration syndrome, the following resources are available:

  • We have 100+ years
    cumulative experience.

  • All our lawyers know the
    medicine in their specialties.

  • $500 Million in verdicts &
    settlements total.

  • Over $100 Million in verdicts & settlements
    associated with birth injury cases.

Free Consultation Offered

Call us, or fill out the form below and request a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.

  • Please enter your name.
  • Please enter your email address.
    This isn't a valid email address.
  • This isn't a valid phone number.
    Please enter your phone number.
  • Please make a selection.
  • Please enter a message.