Infants who are born prematurely are at an increased risk of complications during the birthing process. Even delivering just a few weeks early can greatly increase the chances of problems for the newborn. Obstetricians must take every precaution to ensure the health of both mother and baby in the event a premature delivery takes place. Doctors who fail to do so, may find themselves at the center of a medical malpractice lawsuit if the baby or mother suffers permanent injuries.
What Causes Premature Birth?
There are a variety of conditions that may lead to premature labor, such as abnormalities in the pregnancy or a history of premature labor. By law, obstetricians must take certain precautions to ensure the best outcome for the mother and newborn. If a doctor sees warning signs that may indicate premature labor, he or she may order bed rest for the remainder of the pregnancy. If the expectant mother has an ineffectual cervix, there is an increased risk of preterm contractions and early dilation. To avoid this, doctors must suture the cervix during the early phase of pregnancy. Women who go to their doctor with premature labor contractions, are typically given medications designed to stop contractions and prevent preterm labor. If premature labor is imminent, doctors may also give expectant mothers steroids to mature the baby’s lungs rapidly.
Premature Birth Injuries
When a doctor fails to provide adequate care to avoid premature labor, birth injuries can occur. Preterm babies can suffer brain damage when their young lungs are too immature to function properly. Babies who are born before their brains are able to process oxygen properly, can also sustain brain damage. Doctors must recognize the signs of premature labor early enough to take the steps necessary to prolong the pregnancy. Parents who feel their doctor failed to accomplish this goal, may be able to file a medical malpractice lawsuit with the help of a competent attorney. However, not all brain injuries are caused by negligence on the part of the attending physician. Some brain injuries simply cannot be avoided, even with the best prenatal care.
Parents who are unsure if their infant suffered a preventable brain injury, should consult an attorney with experience in birth injuries. The lawyer will work to find medical experts who can provide advice regarding the birth injury. If the physician could have exercised reasonable skill and care and failed to do so, the parents of the injured child may be entitled to monetary compensation. This money can be used to provide high quality medical care for the child as long as necessary and provide money for disability. Awards may also include pain and suffering when appropriate.