Did Medical Malpractice Cause Your Child’s Premature Birth?
Doctors have a duty to treat their patients with an appropriate level of care. The medical industry has strict standards in place for medical providers, including physicians who take care of expecting mothers. Unfortunately, not all doctors, obstetricians and gynecologists can be trusted to meet these standards of care. In some cases, the failure to provide proper patient care – known as medical malpractice – can cause or contribute to the premature birth of a child.
What Can Cause Premature Birth?
Premature birth is the birth of a child that takes place too early – typically, more than 3 weeks before the due date or before 37 weeks of pregnancy. Premature or preterm birth can be caused by a number of factors. If your child is born prematurely, your doctor will review your medical history, records and risk factors to try to identify the cause. Various medical problems during pregnancy can be to blame, as well as factors specific to the mother, such as being pregnant with multiples, tobacco or substance use during pregnancy, and having a short amount of time (less than 18 months) between pregnancies.
What Is the Connection Between Medical Malpractice and Preterm Birth?
Of the countless reasons why premature births can occur, medical malpractice is one of the most worrisome. Medical malpractice is when a preventable error by the doctor or hospital overseeing the pregnancy results in harm to the patient. A practitioner or medical facility can make many mistakes and lapses in judgment that result in a baby being born too soon, such as:
- Failing to diagnose and properly treat prenatal problems, including infections.
- Failing to identify potential risk factors for premature birth in the mother.
- Failing to recommend the correct treatment for a mother who is at risk of preterm pregnancy.
- Failing to treat problems during pregnancy, such as preeclampsia or issues with the placenta.
- Misdiagnosing or failing to diagnose symptoms of maternal or fetal distress.
- Ordering the wrong type of medication for an expecting mother.
- Failing to prevent unnecessary preterm birth.
- Failing to prescribe medications to stop or slow premature labor.
Carelessly failing to exercise the degree of care that a normally prudent doctor would have in similar circumstances is medical negligence. Medical malpractice is when a doctor knowingly violates protocol or fails to use the appropriate standard of care. If either of these torts contributed to your baby being born prematurely, your family is eligible for financial compensation.
Premature Birth Can Have Fatal Consequences
When a baby is born too soon, the infant arrives before he or she has had the chance to fully develop in the womb. This can result in a wide range of health and medical problems for the infant – some of which can cause permanent damage or death. Infants who are born too early typically have to spend days or weeks in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) under 24-hour care. Preterm birth can result in the following health issues for a child, among many others:
- Low birth weight
- Congenital disabilities
- Brain injuries
- Permanent brain damage
- Developmental delays
- Respiratory problems
- Hearing and vision loss
- Failure to thrive
If your child was born prematurely, you may have grounds to file a medical malpractice claim in Kentucky. A claim can result in justice for your child and family, a negligent health care provider being held accountable, and compensation for this devastating turn of events. While no amount of money can make up for this tragedy, fair compensation could help your family pay for the medical bills and other expenses connected to preterm birth. You may also be eligible for pain and suffering damages for emotional distress.
If you believe your premature delivery was connected to medical malpractice, contact a Louisville birth injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Hendy | Johnson | Vaughn | Emery for a free consultation today.