A baby’s first and most important test is called an Apgar score. The Apgar score was created by anesthesiologist Dr. Virginia Apgar in 1952 to help medical staff in birth units rapidly assess the physical condition of newborns. At The Law Office of Robert H. Kleinschmidt, P.C., in Scottsdale, our attorney works hard to help hold negligent medical professionals accountable and to help you recover the full and fair compensation to which you are entitled.
What Is An Apgar Score?
This bellwether test of a baby’s health is used in delivery rooms throughout the world. The test is given in two phases. First, a baby is evaluated one minute after birth by a doctor or nurse, then again in five minutes. Both times, a special point system is used to evaluate the baby’s:
- Appearance (coloring)
- Pulse (heartbeat)
- Grimace (reflex irritability)
- Activity (muscle tone)
- Respiration (breathing)
Newborns who score a 7 to 10 on the Apgar table are deemed healthy. Babies who score between 4 and 6 may need medical assistance, such as the administration of oxygen or suctioning of fluids from the airway.
Critically Low Apgar Scores
If a baby’s Apgar score is assessed at 3 or below, it may indicate serious health problems and require immediate medical intervention.
A baby is given the test again at five minutes after birth to determine progress. Many times, the baby’s score will improve due to increased oxygen saturation. Coloring may be rosier at this point and respiration and heartbeat normalized.
Apgar Scores: A Predictor Of Baby’s Future Health?
If a child continues to have a poor Apgar score at five, seven or more minutes after birth, that may indicate a greater risk for developing cerebral palsy, cognitive impairment and seizures, depending upon the oxygen levels in the blood and other factors.
Although an Apgar score is not meant to be an indicator of future health, any hesitation or error on a doctor’s part in resuscitating an oxygen-deprived newborn or failure to properly monitor an infant with a weak heartbeat and flaccid muscle tone may lead to birth asphyxia or brain injury and permanent neurological damage to the child.
Contact Our Arizona Lawyer If Your Child Has Suffered A Birth Injury
If your baby’s Apgar score was low due to a general anesthesia error during a cesarean section or because of a medical mistake, please contact our attorney at The Law Office of Robert H. Kleinschmidt, P.C., for more information. Call today to arrange for a free initial consultation at 480-951-3949 or contact us online. We provide legal help to people throughout the greater Phoenix area.