In the United States, 1 in 10 babies is born prematurely. Premature birth occurs when a baby is born before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Babies who are born prematurely are at risk for complications and serious health conditions. Medical professionals have an obligation to take steps to prevent premature birth and to ensure that babies who are born prematurely are properly cared for.
Dangers of Premature Birth
Pregnancy is a time for a baby to grow and develop. When this time is cut short, there can be long-term health effects for the baby. These effects can include breathing problems, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, feeding issues, and vision and hearing problems. Babies who are born prematurely are at an increased risk of dying or developing a serious disability.
Prematurity and Medical Malpractice
While not all premature births are preventable, there are, unfortunately, some instances where proper medical care could have prevented a premature birth. Medical professionals have an obligation to recognize the risk factors associated with premature birth. These risk factors include:
- High blood pressure during pregnancy
- Age of the mother
- Prior preterm birth
- Weight of the mother
- Pregnancy with multiples
- Short cervix and other abnormalities of the reproductive system
- Fetal abnormalities
- Placenta previa
Once a medical professional has recognized that there are risk factors present for premature birth, they must take the steps necessary to prevent prematurity. Failure to do so may be medical malpractice. Steps to prevent premature birth include:
- Placing a mother on bed rest
- Prescribing progesterone which can help stop contractions and assist women with short cervixes
- Prescribing appropriate medications that can prevent pre-term labor
- Prescribing steroids to help accelerate the baby’s development before birth
- Performing a cervical cerclage which involves placing a stitch in the cervix to keep it closed.
If a medical professional fails to take the necessary steps, and a baby is injured due to premature birth, they may be liable for medical malpractice.
Contact an Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney
If your child has been injured due to premature birth, you should have your case evaluated by an experienced medical malpractice attorney. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have been helping the victims of medical malpractice for over 50 years. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.