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Premature Infant

Any child born before 37 weeks of pregnancy is considered premature. Although 21st century medicine gives them a much greater chance of surviving and living a normal, healthy life, premature babies still face potential health problems that are far less common in full-term infants.

Doctors today have options for medical intervention to prevent premature delivery. Tocolytic (anti-contraction) medications may be given to halt contractions in a mother who has gone into labor too early. If premature delivery appears to be unavoidable, medical providers may give the mother medications called corticosteroids, such as betamethasone, to help mature the premature baby’s lungs prior to delivery.

Women at risk for premature delivery must be closely monitored by their healthcare providers. In most cases of premature labor, there are clear warning signs, and physicians should be aware of those symptoms and take fast and correct actions in an attempt to prevent premature delivery, or to prepare for the child’s early arrival. Failure to do so can cause unnecessary risk for the child.

Common Health Problems among Premature Infants

The earlier in the pregnancy a premature child is born, the more like the baby is to have serious health issues. A number of health conditions impact premature infants, including:

  • Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS): Infants with RDS have breathing problems because they are lacking a protein known as surfactant that prevents small air sacks in the lungs from collapsing. This condition is common in babies born before 34 weeks.
  • Intraventricular Hemorrhage (IVH): This is bleeding in the brain that usually occurs near the ventricles (spaces filled with fluid) in the center of the brain. It can damage the part of the brain that controls the baby’s motor function and cause cerebral palsy.
  • Patent Ductus Arteriosis (PDA): With this medical condition, the ductus (connection) between two major blood vessels near the heart does not close properly after birth. A child with PDA may have breathing problems or suffer heart failure.
  • Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC): Two to three weeks after a premature birth, the baby may develop NEC, a condition of the intestines that causes diarrhea, a swollen belly, and feeding problems.
  • Apnea: Premature babies sometimes have apnea – a pause in breathing for 20 seconds or more, which sometimes occurs along with a slow heart rate.
  • Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD): This lung condition can develop in premature infants and in babies who have been treated with a lung machine. It can cause fluid in the lungs, damage to the lungs, and scarring.

Medical Negligence and Premature Infants

Doctors employ a range of medical interventions and techniques to help prevent premature deliveries or protect prematurely born infants. If you believe your newborn child was injured through a healthcare provider’s negligence, please get in touch with the birth injury attorneys at Birth Injury Safety. An immediate investigation into the facts of your case can help determine the cause of the incident and who can be held liable in a case of medical negligence. For a free consultation and advisement, please call (214) 974-4121 today.

Birth Injury Attorneys Answer Premature Birth FAQs

Years ago, when a baby was born prematurely, hospitals and medical staff had to go to great lengths to preserve the life of the newborn. Technology was rudimentary and techniques were untested. Today, with 21st century medicine, premature births are much more manageable than they were in past decades. This does not make the experience any less difficult or frightening, but it does increase the odds of survival considerably.

But what happens when medical professionals fail to take all the necessary steps in the delicate operation of a premature delivery? What if the doctor in charge commits a gross act of negligence that places your premature infant in a situation as bad as (or worse than) what would have been encountered decades ago, with outdated medical treatment? If this has happened to you and your child, you may have grounds to take legal action against a negligent healthcare provider.

When it comes to holding negligent hospitals and doctors accountable, we know what the stakes are, and we are prepared to do whatever it takes to help you get through this time of need. For more information on medical negligence in premature birth, please review answers to some of the more commonly asked questions regarding premature birth injuries.

Could the Injuries Have Been Prevented?

Can I File a Claim for Injuries My Premature Baby Suffered?

What Kind of Damages Will I Be Able to Collect?

What Are Some Common Reasons for Premature Births?

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?

When Should I Contact a Personal Injury Attorney?


Q: Could the Injuries Have Been Prevented?

A: Absolutely. While premature births can sometimes catch both mother and doctor off guard, generally, there are very clear symptoms…and warning signs that indicate trouble. It is up to your doctor to be alert to the signs and to act rapidly to prepare for your child’s early arrival. Some mothers are more susceptible to premature birth, and the attending medical team must be vigilant throughout the pregnancy in these cases.

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Q: Can I File a Claim for Injuries My Premature Baby Suffered?

A: Yes. However, the key to success in any medical malpractice claim is establishing that an act of medical negligence was the cause of the injuries to the child. You and your attorneys must show that the doctor overseeing your pregnancy acted with blatant disregard for your child’s safety.

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Q: What Kind of Damages Will I Be Able to Collect?

A: While it is impossible to suggest how much you may receive before hearing the details of your case, it is safe to say that when damages are awarded, the financial compensation will cover your medical expenses, the pain and suffering you had to endure, and in some cases, punitive damages, if negligence was particularly heinous. However, it’s important to keep in mind that medical malpractice claims are capped in some states. In the state of Texas, for example, there is a limit on what can be recovered in compensation for certain types of damages.

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Q: What Are Some Common Reasons for Premature Births?

A: Certain medical conditions make a premature birth more likely. Although none of these risk factors make premature birth a certainty, doctors must consider them and take precautions to prevent injury:

  • Genital infections and sexually transmitted diseases
  • History of premature births
  • Cervix abnormalities
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Multiple babies

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Q: How Long Do I Have to File a Claim?

A: Statutes of limitation may vary from state to state. For example, in the state of Texas, you have approximately two years from the point of procedure and injuries sustained to file a medical malpractice claim. However, there are exceptions to the rule, which our legal team can help you explore.

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Q: When Should I Contact a Personal Injury Attorney?

A: At Birth Injury Safety, we recommend contacting a lawyer as soon as possible. While it may be difficult to even consider taking legal action in the early days, it is critical that the action is initiated as early as possible after the incident. The longer you wait to discuss taking legal action, the more limited your options could become. Call us for at (214) 974-4121 for a free consultation with a birth injury attorney.

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Birth Injury Safety
Saint Paul Place, Suite 1660A,
750 N. Saint Paul Street, Dallas Texas 75201

Phone: (214) 974-4121
Email: brown@trialfirm.com

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