Within the first minute of your baby’s life and then again when your baby is five minutes old, your baby should be evaluated by medical staff in five critical areas. These areas include:
- Heart rate
- Respiratory function
- Skin tone
- Muscle tone
- Reflex irritability or how your baby responds to stimulation
Together, these criteria make up what is known as an Apgar score. Each of the criteria may be assigned a score of zero to two for a possible total of 10 points. At one minute, scores of seven or higher typically mean that the baby needs routine post-delivery care, scores of four to six indicate that the baby may need assistance, and scores for three or less indicate that the baby may need emergency intervention. After five minutes, any score below a seven means that the baby should continue to be monitored and retested every five minutes for up to 20 minutes.
Low Apgar scores do not always indicate a birth injury. However, if your child has been diagnosed with a birth injury, it is important to share your child’s Apgar scores with your birth injury lawyer.
Why Your Child’s Low Apgar Scores May Be Relevant in a Birth Injury Case
Your lawyer needs to know about your child’s Apgar scores because:
- A low Apgar score could be indicative of a birth injury. For example, if your baby lacked oxygen during labor or delivery, your baby could have low Apgar scores. While not all low Apgar scores mean that a birth injury occurred, it is important information for your legal team to know if you suspect a birth injury.
- It may be evidence of negligence. Doctors and nurses have a responsibility to provide reasonable care for infants with low Apgar scores. If your child’s Apgar scores should have led to further monitoring or treatment and medical staff failed to provide it, your child may have been hurt by medical negligence.
Apgar scores are just one piece of evidence that may be important in a birth injury case. If your child was hurt during labor or delivery, you need to know about all of the relevant evidence and about how to protect your child’s recovery. Please call our experienced birth injury lawyers, or reach out to us via this website, any time—24/7/365—to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.