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The Dark Side Of Fetal Heart Monitoring In Florida


The heart monitor is standard operating procedure in almost every delivery that takes place in the Sunshine State. These monitors give doctors critical information about fetal health. Without fetal heart monitors, delivery physicians and nurses would essentially have to guess in this important area.

But there is a downside. Fetal heart monitors increase the risk of C-sections by about 20 percent. Most of these procedures are emergency C-sections. These surgical procedures involve little preparation and high risk. Furthermore, faulty heart data creates a risk for “false alarm” C-sections. In these cases, doctors simply gamble unnecessarily, largely because they fear future liability lawsuits.

Faulty Heart Monitoring in Florida

Medical staff usually connects mothers to fetal heart monitors with no input from the doctor or from the patient. Yet the medical chart usually provides much information in this area. Some women should either refuse the fetal heart monitor altogether or at least speak with their doctors about this issue. That’s especially true if there are any warning signs related to possible faulty fetal heart measurements. Some of these warning signs include:

  • Multiple Pregnancy: If there is more than one fetus, it’s much more difficult for technicians to get accurate readings on either one. It’s also more difficult for doctors to distinguish one fetus from the other one based slowly on heartbeat data.
  • Gross Fetal Movement: Roughly the same principle applies if the baby moves a lot in utero.
  • Polyhydramnios: Excessive amniotic fluid is quite common among Florida mothers. The additional fluid levels mean that technicians must use more invasive means to connect the monitor and that the readings may not be as accurate.
  • Obesity: Heart monitors create a risk of fetal infection in these cases, since the electrodes need to send very strong signals to penetrate to the fetus.

There is a privacy aspect as well. Some mothers simply do not like the heart monitor’s movement restrictions. Moms may also be uncomfortable with the invasive nature of the procedure.

C-Section Risks in Florida

Any major invasive surgery, like a C-section, has substantial risks. These risks are on top of the natural childbirth risks. Some things to consider include:

  • Injury and Infection: The uterus is very, very close to the bladder and intestines. One minor slip-up, and these organs could get cut and bleed profusely. Such errors are common in pressure-packed crash C-sections.
  • Blood Clots: These side-effects are very common in Florida surgical procedures. Due to the interrupted blood flow, these clots often first appear in the legs. If they migrate to the heart, lungs, or other vital organs, these clots are potentially fatal.
  • Amniotic Fluid Embolism: An AFE is a lot like a blood clot. Amniotic fluid, or possible fetal tissue, could enter the bloodstream, migrate to the lungs, and interrupt blood flow. That migration usually causes an irregular heartbeat or even death.

Postpartum C-section complications include problems breastfeeding and the inability to deliver future babies vaginally.

C-sections put babies at risk as well. Many C-section babies are premature. They may also have breathing problems and other health problems.

Damages in a birth injury lawsuit usually include compensation for both economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Moreover, Florida jurors often award substantial punitive damages in these cases.

Reach Out to Experienced Attorneys

Fetal heart monitors may cause more harm than good. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer in Brandon, contact Reed & Reed. We have four area offices (St. Petersburg, Lakeland, Tampa, and Clearwater).


Brandon Personal Injury
Reed & Reed, Attorneys at Law, is located in Brandon, FL and serves clients in
and around Brandon, Tampa, Apollo Beach, Sydney, Gibsonton, Balm, Valrico, Wimauma, Sun City Center, Lithia, Ruskin, Durant, and Hillsborough County.

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Brandon, FL 33511
Tel: 813-438-5960
Fax: 813-438-5995

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1700 66th Street North, Ste. 104-1008
St. Petersburg, FL 33710
Tel: 727-362-7520
Fax: 727-362-7521


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Lakeland, FL 33801
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Fax: 863-274-7716


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Tampa, FL 33602
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Fax: 813-440-6682


13575 58th Street N, Ste. 200
Clearwater, FL 33760
Tel: 727-767-9914
Fax: 727-767-9915


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