Meconium is the baby' first stool. It consists of material ingested before, during, or after delivery. Often, fetal distress during labor will trigger intestinal contractions which can cause the baby' sphincter to relax, allowing meconium release into the amniotic fluid. If the baby ingests the meconium to the lungs, it can result in serious complications, including breathing difficulties and brain damage.
Serious Pulmonary and Neurological Complications Can Occur
Meconium passes into amniotic fluid between five and twenty percent of all births, though it is most common in post-term births. Meconium aspiration develops five to ten percent of these cases. Because of the serious pulmonary and neurological complications that can result from meconium aspiration syndrome, extensive treatment may be required including extra corporeal membrane oxygenation (or ECMO). This form of treatment, which is like a heart lung machine, does can help meconium aspiration babies but also carries its own risk of complications.
Although some babies respond well from treatment for meconium aspiration syndrome, others do not. If you believe your child may have suffered brain damage or breathing complications from meconium aspiration because of medical malpractice, please contact our Chicago Medical Malpractice Office for a free consultation.