Meconium Aspiration Syndrome
Meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS) is the aspiration of stained amniotic fluid, which can occur before, during, or immediately after birth. MAS can lead to significant medical disorders, as well as irreversible conditions like cerebral palsy if it is not diagnosed and treated immediately.
What is meconium aspiration syndrome?
Most cases of MAS derive from the fact that the baby suffered some form of foetal distress during labour. When babies are not getting an adequate supply of blood and oxygen, their bodies are thought to respond to stress by expelling meconium. Being aware of the complications that can ensue following foetal distress, doctors must carefully monitor the health of the baby during the labour process. The most important method of monitoring foetal health is believed to be foetal monitoring in order to identify a complication as soon as possible.
Meconium is the first intestinal discharge from newborns, a viscous, dark-green substance composed of intestinal epithelial cells, lanugo, mucus, and intestinal secretions (bile). Intrauterine distress can cause the passage of meconium into the amniotic fluid.
Factors that promote the passage of meconium in utero include:
- placental insufficiency
- maternal hypertension
- and maternal drug abuse, especially the use of tobacco and cocaine
As noted above, meconium-stained amniotic fluid may be aspirated before or during labour and delivery. Because meconium is rarely found in the amniotic fluid prior to 34 weeks gestation, meconium aspiration primarily affects infants born at term and post-term.
Have you been affected as a result of medical negligence?
- Our team of medical negligence solicitors has over 30 years of collective experience handling cases for those who have suffered as a result of medical misdiagnosis or medical negligence.
- We are accredited as medical negligence specialists by Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) and the Law Society of Ireland.
- AvMA, a nonprofit dedicated to patient safety and justice, has given Coleman Legal its seal of approval. On their website, they provide helpful advice on how to choose a specialised solicitor for your medical negligence claim, which may assist you in making your decision.
What are the effects of meconium aspiration?
Most infants with meconium aspiration syndrome (MAS) have complete recovery of pulmonary function; however, MAS infants have a slightly increased incidence of respiratory infections in the first year of life because the lungs are still in recovery.
It is very important that the medical staff attending to the birth of your baby are fully aware of the potential signs of meconium aspiration, and be equipped and prepared to handle it quickly and efficiently.
MAS is one of the leading causes of severe birth injuries in newborn babies, and it occurs in about 5 – 10 % of births.
Severely affected infants have an increased risk of developing reactive airway disease (RAD) in the first 6 months of life. Reactive airway disease is a group of conditions that generally result in wheezing. Conditions within this group include asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and viral upper respiratory infections.
Children with MAS may develop chronic lung disease from intense pulmonary intervention, or various other long-term neurological issues. Failure to properly manage meconium aspiration during the birthing process can cause the baby to experience serious health issues including:-
- central nervous system (CNS) damage,
- respiratory distress,
- hypoxic ischemic encephalpathy (HIE),
- and cerebral palsy.
If your baby has suffered as the result of meconium aspiration syndrome during labour, this is a very traumatic and distressing time for you and your family. Our medical negligence and birth injury solicitors can discuss your case in confidence with you to see if we can assist you at this difficult time.
The claim process
1. Consult our medical negligence solicitor
It is advisable for you to speak to an experienced team of Medical Negligence Solicitors as soon as possible if you believe that you were not provided with an adequate or appropriate level of medical care, which resulted in you sustaining an injury or illness.
2. We obtain your medical records
After the consultation with your medical negligence solicitor, he/she will request access to your medical records and engage an independent medical expert to assess your records. The purpose of engaging an independent expert is to establish whether there was any negligence on the part of the medical professional.
3. The medical negligence litigation process
Where the independent medical expert is of the professional opinion that medical negligence did occur, upon your instructions, your solicitor will commence the process of issuing legal proceedings in Court against the medical professional and/or hospital.
Statute of Limitation
The legal time limit to make a medical negligence claim is two years from the date of injury or date of knowledge that the injury or illness resulted from medical negligence. For children/minors, the time limit expires two years after their 18th birthday. You may contact a solicitor to discuss your case to advise of the Statute of Limitations applicable to your case.
At Coleman Legal, medical negligence claims constitute a large part of our caseload, and with that comes first-rate experience and high awareness of the area in general by our practitioners. We can advise you on your case, and you will be guided through the legal process as sensitively as possible with our support. To speak with one of our solicitors, call 1800 844104 (free phone) or complete our online enquiry form.
Along with our expertise in the area, clients can expect support and sensitivity. If you believe that you have suffered as a result of medical negligence, either in your treatment or as a result of misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, Coleman Legal can advise you as to whether you may have a case against another party and will support you through the entire process.
- Negligently handled births
- Problems not detected during pregnancy
- Failure to detect serious abnormalities pre-birth
- Errors during Ante-Natal care Injury or death due to medical instruments and/or anaesthetics or inadequate suturing
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