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Apgar Scores Can Reveal Important Information about the Causes of Birth Injury

In reviewing files for medical malpractice, personal injury lawyer Richard A. "Rick" Sandoval and his team are often asked to explain medical terms such as Apgar scores. This common term seems to cause some confusion and, often, a good deal of distress, for families who are suffering the effects of a birth injury. Our team can help you recover and decipher important information included in the Apgar score to get the answers you need. 

What is the Apgar test?

The Apgar test is used to assist delivery room personnel in making an early baseline assessment of a newborn's physical health, in order to help identify those infants who need immediate medical care. The test is administered one minute after birth and again five minutes after birth. In some cases, the test may be administered a third time, ten minutes after birth.

What is the significance of the Apgar score?

The Apgar test was developed in the early 1950s by Dr. Virginia Apgar, but it often is referred to as an acronym for the five factors it is used to evaluate: Appearance (coloration); Pulse (heart rate); Grimace (or reflex irritability┬Ł); Activity (muscle tone); and Respiration (breathing effort and rate). Each factor is scored on a scale of 0-2; the infant is given a total Apgar score between 0 and 10. In general, a score of 8-10 signifies a healthy baby; a score of 3-7 is fair; a score of 0-2 is poor and suggests the need for prompt medical intervention.

Dr. Apgar intended her test to be used as a teaching tool and as a clinical tool, and as a tool for researchers studying the neonatal impact of obstetrical practices and the effectiveness of infant resuscitation methods. Over time, however, the Apgar test also has become a litigation tool in cases involving infant hypoxia (reduced oxygen supply) or asphyxia (a lack of oxygen supply) at or near the time of birth, and brain damage and cerebral palsy. Because Apgar scoring is, to some extent, subjective, the reliability of a low Apgar score in predicting an infant's long-term outcome is open to debate.

Contact Santa Fe medical malpractice lawyer, Richard Rick┬Ł Sandoval

If you have concerns about your infant's Apgar score and the treatment your infant received during or after delivery, contact an experienced Santa Fe medical malpractice lawyer. Call me today at 505.795.7790 or 1-866-BEST LAWYER (1-866-237-8529)to schedule a free initial consultation.

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