Meconium Aspiration Syndrome Compensation Claims

If your life, or the life of a loved one, has been affected by meconium aspiration syndrome, we can help.

If your injuries were caused by the negligence of a doctor, nurse, midwife or other medical professional, you may be entitled to claim compensation.

Claiming injury compensation with a solicitor

You can make a compensation claim with the help and support of a specialist clinical negligence solicitor.

Your solicitor will ask you about what happened, and they will collect evidence to prove the negligence happened. Your solicitor will also work out how much money you can claim, based on your injuries, lost earnings and other expenses.

We can help you make a medical negligence claim on a No Win No Fee basis.

In this article


Meconium Aspiration Syndrome (MAS) is a condition unique to newborn babies, and is caused by events just before or during birth.

Meconium is the term given to the first semi-solid waste passed by a baby, usually after the baby has been born. In some cases, perhaps in response to foetal distress, the baby's intestines contract and relax to expel the meconium early. This waste contaminates the amniotic fluid surrounding the foetus and if it is inhaled may irritate the airways and lungs, causing respiratory issues.

Given the nature of the condition, it is unlikely that a healthcare worker's negligence would be the cause of meconium aspiration syndrome.

However, it may be possible to make a clinical negligence claim if the syndrome is not promptly identified and treated to an acceptable standard of care.

Can Meconium Aspiration be prevented?

Although rare, there is no way to prevent meconium aspiration from occurring and all newborn babies are technically at risk.

Healthcare professionals have identified that babies may have an increased risk of MAS if the mother has diabetes or high blood pressure. The risk is also greater when the baby is overdue or the labour is particularly long.

What are the signs or symptoms of MAS?

The first sign that meconium may have been passed is usually the colour of the amniotic fluid. Instead of being clear and watery, the fluid may be stained blue-green or yellowish. It may also be thicker in consistency.

It may be also possible for the midwife or obstetrician to detect an infant's lower heart rate before delivery, indicating the baby may have inhaled meconium.

The baby, once delivered, may show signs of MAS. These signs may include:

  • blue discolouration of the skin, fingernails or umbilical cord,
  • breathing difficulties,
  • the baby may be limp and less responsive

Confirmation that the baby has MAS may be made by listening for lung abnormalities or by carrying out blood gas tests.

How is meconium aspiration syndrome treated?

Treatment should be immediate as delay may result in long-term respiratory problems.

An endotracheal tube may be inserted to clear the baby's upper and lower airways. The tube uses suction to remove the meconium. The baby may also need oxygen therapy and a surfactant treatment to prevent the lungs collapsing. Antibiotics may also be given.

Blood tests (for oxygen levels) and X-rays should be performed to ensure the lungs have been sufficiently cleared and that the baby is getting enough oxygen into his system.

Can there be complications?

Children who inhaled meconium before or during birth may be susceptible to other chest conditions if they have sustained respiratory damage through MAS. These conditions include asthma and other breathing difficulties and chest infections. If the baby has been exposed to high levels of meconium he may have permanent lung damage.

Failure to treat MAS appropriately may deprive a baby of oxygen, leading in extreme cases to permanent, significant brain damage or death.

Can I make a clinical negligence claim in respect of meconium aspiration syndrome?

Meconium aspiration syndrome should be an easily-identifiable condition in most cases.

If your child has sustained respiratory illness or other conditions through undiagnosed or untreated MAS, you may be able to bring a claim for negligence against the healthcare professionals involved with the baby's birth.

Any illness or condition arising from the syndrome may not be immediately evident. A person who was affected by MAS during their own birth may bring a claim up to 3 years after his or her 18th birthday. Alternatively, a parent or guardian may make a claim on an affected child's behalf before this date.

Will I have to go to court?

Highly unlikely. Solicitors settle the vast majority of claims out of court.

Less than 5% of personal injury claims go to court. Generally, only very complex cases, or those where liability cannot be resolved, end up in court.

Cases that do ultimately go to court are decided by a judge or magistrate, not a jury.

Even if the claim does go to court, it is very unlikely you will have to attend.

Read more:

Will my injury claim go to court and what if it does?

No win, no fee, no risk

No win, no fee takes the risk out of making an injury claim. If you don't win your claim, you won't have to pay your solicitor any legal fees.

No win, no fee - our guarantee

Our no win, no fee guarantee means there is no financial risk in making an injury claim, even if you don't win your claim. Read more about making a No win, no fee claim

What do I pay if I win my injury claim?

Your injury solicitor will receive a success fee which is deducted from your compensation, after your claim is settled. The solicitor's success fee can be up to 25%. You and your solicitor can agree the success fee before you start your claim.

What do I pay if I do not win my injury claim?

If your injury claim is not successful then you won't have to pay your solicitor any fees. Your solicitor may take out insurance to ensure there will be nothing to pay.

Is there a penalty if I withdraw?

Under a No Win, No Fee Agreement (CFA), fees may apply if a claimant refuses to cooperate, or abandons their claim after the legal work has started, or if the claim is fraudulent.

Is there a catch?

The Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA) sets out the terms between you and your solicitor., No Win No Fee is a regulated activity and as such there should be no nasty surprises in the agreement. Nevertheless, it is recommended that you read the agreement carefully and ask any questions if you are unsure.

How we can help you

Your solicitor will fight for the best possible compensation settlement for you, and the highly-experienced panel of solicitors have an excellent track record of winning medical negligence claims.

If you have any questions, or would like to start a No Win No Fee claim, we are open:

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Call us for FREE advice on 0800 376 1001, or arrange a call back from a friendly, legally-trained advisor:

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Injury FAQ's

Can I claim for someone else?

Yes. In certain circumstances, it is possible to claim compensation on behalf of another person in the capacity of a 'litigation friend'.

If an injured person is either too young or vulnerable, too injured or otherwise unable to claim on their own behalf, their litigation friend can handle the claim process on behalf of the injured person.

The litigation friend will be responsible for communicating with the solicitors, and for making decisions in respect of the claim.

Read more:

Claiming on behalf of another person.

Will I have to visit a solicitor's office to start a claim?

No. You will not need visit a solicitor's office. Personal injury claims are handled by email, post and phone.

Should you need to have a medical, this will be arranged at a medical centre near you or at your GP's surgery.

Read more:

Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

I need the money now - what are my options?

If you are unable to work and have bills to pay, you may be able to claim an interim compensation payment.

An interim payment is an advance on your compensation payment. Any amount you receive in interim payments would be deducted from your final compensation payment.

Read more:

How to I get an interim compensation payment?

Jenny Jones, Senior litigator

Jenny Jones, Senior litigator