Medical Malpractice: Preventable Blindness in Premature Babies

Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is a condition that primarily affects premature infants with low birth weight. In the 1940’s and 1950’s it was the leading cause of blindness in children in the U.S., and it is still one of the most common causes of childhood vision loss. But, ROP vision loss is preventable. ROP can be detected early, and early treatment can prevent permanent damage, vision loss and blindness. If your child has suffered vision loss as a result of ROP, please talk to an experienced medical malpractice attorney about the compensation that can pay for your child’s medical bills and special needs.

Risk Factors

The risk factors for ROP are known. The primary risk factors are:

  • Being born before 32 weeks of gestation
  • Birth weight of less than three pounds

The smaller the baby is at birth, the greater the risk of developing ROP.

Other risk factors include:

  • Oxygen deficiency
  • Too much oxygen given in oxygen therapy
  • Breathing difficulties or respiratory distress
  • Carbon dioxide toxicity
  • Slow heart rate
  • Anemia
  • Infections
  • Sepsis
  • Blood transfusions
  • poor weight gain

Failure to Monitor and Treat

Doctors and other health care professionals have a duty to be aware of the risk factors and monitor your baby accordingly. In ROP, the blood vessels in your baby’s eyes don’t develop properly and they can leak blood into the eye. That can cause scarring and retinal detachment.

Your baby should be monitored for signs of ROP and ROP progression and treat it promptly before retinal detachment can occur. If no signs or damage are found before you take your baby home, you should still be referred to a specialist for regular screenings and follow-up.

If your child has suffered ROP vision loss, please contact, right away, to be put in touch with an experienced, local medical malpractice attorney.

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