A baby’s heartbeat is the only communication he or she has with the outside world from inside a mother’s womb. More importantly, it serves as a tool to monitor the health of the baby’s brain. Thus, in many cases involving catastrophically injured infants, the fetal heart-monitoring strip or fetal heart rate tracing is where you’ll find evidence of medical negligence.
Fetal heart monitoring tracks the patterns and trends between the baby’s heart rate and the mother’s contractions. When a mother has a contraction, tracking can tell us about the relative health of the baby based on his or her reaction as seen on the strip. Simply put, a baby’s response to a contraction tells us how he or she “liked that contraction” based on the heart rate response.
A long strip continually prints from the fetal heart monitor, telling doctors and nurses whether a baby’s heart rate is reassuring or non-reassuring. There are many different patterns that can be seen and interpreted from a fetal monitor strip with accepted terminology used to describe what one is seeing. An example of these terms might be whether a strip is reactive or non-reactive. A reactive heart rate indicates a healthy baby. If the heart rate becomes non-reactive, other measures such as vibro-acoustic stimulation (VAS) can be used to stimulate the baby’s heart. An absent response after VAS suggests there may be a problem with the baby, which warrants an 8-step protocol for returning the baby’s heart rate to normal.
If no one catches the non-reactive heart rate in time, only a few moments can mean the difference between a healthy baby and permanent brain damage. In a situation like this, the fetal heart-monitoring strip may provide the only evidence for how long it took hospital staff to respond to a non-reassuring tracing, and engage in the proper interventions.
Think of it like a black box recording that monitors the activity of a cockpit during a flight. Except, unlike black box evidence that can easily be presented to a jury as an audio recording, the fetal monitoring evidence is typically presented as a long, physical strip with hundreds of pages of complex data that often looks confusing to a jury, and only experts can understand.
That’s why we invented the DigiStrip: an interactive fetal monitor tracing presentation tool, used in both mediation and trial that enables you to present the fetal monitoring strip as a fluid, dynamic, horizontally scrolling image inside a virtual workspace.
Instead of sifting through hundreds of documents, you can easily scroll backward and forward in time and annotate certain details for the jury using customizable on-screen instruments.A few of the DigitStrips custom features include the ability to:
Move backward forward in time to any point in the labor and delivery process
Highlight specific details and sections using a set of drawing options
Allow multiple experts to customize their own presentations by saving multiple versions of the strip for them to individually annotate.