Meconium Aspiration Lawyers Representing the Black Community

Meconium is a newborn baby’s first poop, a dark, thick, and sticky mass that is made up of protein and fats. Babies will typically pass meconium in the first hours or days after birth. But some babies may pass meconium while still in the womb. 

If an infant inhales meconium before, or immediately after they are born, they are at risk of developing a condition called Meconium Aspiration Syndrome, or MAS. The risk of meconium in the amniotic fluid is 80 percent higher for Black women, making their risk of MAS 67 percent higher than white women. MAS should be mostly preventable through proper monitoring during pregnancy, and appropriate measures during delivery. Yet MAS is still a leading cause of severe illness and deaths in newborns, occurring in 5-10 percent of births. 

What Are the Risk Factors for MAS?

Meconium aspiration occurs when an infant gasps for air, typically when the baby is under stress. If meconium is present in the amniotic fluid, the baby may inhale it when they are trying to breathe, causing the meconium to be lodged in the airway and cutting off oxygen. 

Meconium Aspiration Syndrome can occur before, during, or immediately after delivery. Infants are at a greater risk for MAS if they:

  • Experience a long, or stressful delivery
  • Are born past after 40 weeks
  • Have a mother with health problems such as diabetes or high blood pressure

What Can Be Done to Prevent MAS?

Meconium Aspiration Syndrome affects up to 30,000 births per year, and causes roughly 1000 deaths annually in the United States. While babies who receive appropriate treatment often make a full recovery, those who are not diagnosed quickly or properly may be at risk for permanent disabilities or death.

The strategies used during delivery are key to preventing fatal or debilitating effects of MAS. Prolonged birth or labor, or a prolonged period where the membranes are ruptured prior to birth, are associated with MAS. Likewise, women who are past 40 weeks of pregnancy should be closely monitored for warning signs. 

When to Suspect Negligence or Discrimination

If the medical team involved in your birth did not intervene in a timely fashion to prevent meconium aspiration, they may be held liable for their inaction. MAS often occurs because far too many obstetricians fail to properly monitor women who have meconium in their amniotic fluid. Doctors might not be aware that Black women are at an increased risk of having meconium present in their amniotic fluid, and fail to properly inform or monitor them for fetal distress.

When an infant is born with MAS doctors should immediately attempt to remove the meconium through suction, and provide oxygen as needed. Failure to do so quickly can be deemed malpractice. While malpractice or negligence can be difficult to prove, an experienced lawyer will review all the circumstances surrounding your child’s birth, prenatal care, and clinical records, to determine if the doctors or hospital involved should be held liable. 

When to Consult with a Lawyer Experienced in Discrimination

Lee Merritt, Esq. is a longtime leader and influential voice in the fight for Social Justice, representing high-profile civil rights cases like that of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man recently shot and killed while jogging in Georgia. 

A dedicated civil rights activist and trial attorney, Mr. Merritt runs a distinguished national practice focusing on victims of police brutality, hate crimes and corporate discrimination. As an activist, he has championed police reform and community empowerment. His office has led the way to reform in Texas, a state notorious for its failure to prosecute police officers, successfully advocating for the first murder indictments of officers in the state in over 40 years.

There are many more battles to fight on behalf of the 22 percent of Black women who report discrimination in their medical care. For a free consultation please fill out our form, write [email protected] or call us directly at 1-800-590-4116.

About S. Lee Merritt

Civil Rights Lawyer

Lee Merritt, Esq. is emerging as a leading and influential new voice in the fight for Social Justice. A dedicated civil rights activist and trial attorney, Merritt runs a high profile national practice focusing on victims of police brutality, hate crimes and corporate discrimination. As an activist, he has championed police reform and community empowerment. 

Do you need more information or want to help? 

Our organization can help mothers and their families who have faced medical issues during pregnancy learn about the resources available to them, as well as learn about what action they may be able to take legally due to discriminatory health practices.  Contact us below by email or phone and our team can learn more about your situation and give you free and friendly advice.

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