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Apgar Scores and Birth Injuries

Cleveland birth injury lawyer explains what you need to know

When a birth injury occurs due to medical negligence, there are often warning signs of a birth injury soon after a baby is born. One of those warning signs is a child’s Apgar score. But what does this score mean? How is it calculated? And how does negligence affect a baby’s Apgar score?

Ohio birth injury attorney John A. Lancione understands the link between Apgar scores and birth injuries due to negligence. That’s because his legal team at The Lancione Law Firm near Cleveland has years of experience representing families in Ohio and across the country dealing with birth injuries due to medical negligence.

When you have our law firm on your side, we can thoroughly investigate whether your child’s low Apgar score is due to mistakes made by medical professionals. We know evidence to look for, what questions to ask and how to build the strongest possible legal case. You can count on us when it matters most.

What is an Apgar score?

Dr. Virginia Apgar created the Apgar score and test in 1952 in order to determine if a newborn baby is healthy or might have a medical issue that requires immediate attention. The APGAR test is routinely performed twice soon after a baby is born – one minute and five minutes after delivery. For each test, the newborn child is given an Apgar score of 0 to 10.

The name of the test comes from Dr. Apgar’s name, but it is also an acronym that stands for five different things checked by medical professionals in the delivery room. An Apgar test examines a baby’s:

  • Appearance or skin color
  • Pulse or heart rate
  • Grimace response or a baby’s reflexes
  • Activity and a baby’s muscle tone
  • Respiration, meaning a baby’s breathing

How do you calculate an Apgar score?

Medical professionals perform two Apgar tests (one minute after birth, then five minutes after birth) and give a score of 0, 1 or 2 to the five measurements as follows:

  • Appearance – Normal skin color all over (2 score), hands and feet slightly blue (1 score), baby’s skin pale or gray colored (0 score).
  • Pulse – Heart rate above 100 beats per minute (2), heart rate below 100 beats per minute (1), no pulse (0).
  • Grimace – Baby pulls away, cries or coughs in response to stimulation (2), baby only grimaces in response to stimulation (1), no response to stimulation (0).
  • Activity – Active movement all over (2), little movement of arms or legs (1), no movement or floppy arms or legs (0).
  • Respiration – Normal breathing and crying (2), slow breathing and no crying (1), no breathing (0).

The points are added up for a total score of 0 to 10, with 10 being the highest or best possible score and 0 being the lowest possible score.

What do the scores mean?

In most cases, a healthy baby has an Apgar score of 7 to 10. However, many babies have a lower, initial score one minute after delivery, especially when it comes to the baby’s appearance. The same babies might have a higher score when the test is administered again five minutes after birth. But it’s critical that medical professionals continue to carefully monitor newborn children soon after birth, regardless of their Apgar score.

A baby with an Apgar score of 4 to 6 (at one minute or five minutes after birth) often requires immediate medical care and could be a warning sign of a birth injury.

A newborn with an Apgar score of 3 or lower requires immediate medical attention and the child’s life may be in danger.

How does negligence affect a baby’s Apgar score?

Many times, a low Apgar score is an early indication that mistakes were made by medical professionals that resulted in your child’s birth injury. Such negligence can occur during pregnancy or during the baby’s delivery.

Either way, if your child had an Apgar score of 6 or lower, be aware that your child could have an injury or disability due to doctors, nurses or other medical professionals not performing certain tests during pregnancy, delaying your child’s delivery or misreading important warning signs that there’s a problem with your baby before, during or shortly after birth.

Put your trust in an Ohio law firm that puts your needs first. Contact us

Understanding what your child’s Apgar score means and whether a low score is due to medical negligence can be confusing. This is especially true since many medical professionals often deny doing anything wrong and hire attorneys to defend their actions.

Ohio birth injury lawyer John A. Lancione knows how to deal with medical professionals, insurance companies and their attorneys when it comes to such complex legal cases. That’s why so many lawyers often refer birth injury cases to our law firm. They know we have the knowledge and the expertise to skillfully handle your injury claim.

Don’t miss out on your opportunity for justice. Your family may be entitled to financial compensation for your medical bills (including emergency medical treatment and long-term medical care for your child) and other future expenses, including childcare and loss of income. Contact us and learn more about your legal options. Schedule a free consultation with a Cleveland birth injury attorney you can trust. Call (440) 331-6100 or (877) 515-4369 or schedule an appointment online. We’re here for your family when you need us most.

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