NEONATOLOGY is a subspecialty of Pediatrics dealing with the care and treatment of newborns during the first 30 days of life. Neonatology is a hospital-based specialty practiced in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), though Neonatologists are often in the labor and delivery room as they prepare to receive the newborn. Neonatologists are certified by the American Board of Pediatrics in both Pediatrics and Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine. The typical patient of the Neonatologist is an ill newborn requiring complex, specialized care due to prematurity, low birth weight, congenital malformations, sepsis, birth injuries, or hypoxia.
Litigation against Neonatologists is infrequent, but they are often called as expert witnesses to discuss complications that arise when an infant suffers an injury at birth, most commonly due to deprivation of oxygen (hypoxia or anoxia). The delayed diagnosis or improper treatment of neonatal sepsis (i.e. a life-threatening infection of the newborn) is another common litigation issue for the Neonatology expert.