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Preterm Labor Malpractice

If a baby is born too early, a premature birth can result in serious injuries to the newborn baby. Premature birth can be caused by a number of factors, but there’s no question that premature birth can result in serious and life-long medical problems for the baby.

In some cases, premature birth is related to the mother’s actions, such as tobacco or substance abuse, or it may be related to natural causes. Medical conditions in the pregnant mother, such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, or excessive amniotic fluid, can result in preterm delivery that has nothing to do with medical malpractice. Similarly, kidney disease, untreated infections or sexually transmitted diseases may also result in a preterm birth that was not caused by medical malpractice.

But in other cases, preterm birth may be the result of negligence on the part of a medical practitioner. Sometimes, doctors do not properly treat a pregnant mother’s high blood pressure, diabetes or known problems with the unborn baby. Other times, pregnant mothers know the warning signs, go to the doctor or hospital for a labor check and unfortunately, are turned away and are not properly treated. These mistakes may rise to the level of medical malpractice. If you think that a premature birth in your family may have been caused by medical malpractice, contact an Orlando birth injury lawyer or Fort Lauderdale birth injury lawyer at Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm, P.A. today to discuss your options.

Possible Preterm Labor Symptoms

The following may be symptoms of preterm labor:

  • Menstrual cramps or vaginal bleeding
  • Pressure in the vagina or pelvis
  • A low, dull, or tight backache
  • Lower abdominal cramps
  • Frequent uterine contractions
  • Vaginal leakage or increase in vaginal discharge
  • Significantly reduced fetal movement

Medical Malpractice and Preterm Birth

What is the relationship between medical malpractice and preterm labor? Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor, medical professional or the medical facility overseeing the pregnancy does not meet the required standard of care and harm results. A medical professional or a hospital or medical facility can make mistakes or use bad judgment that results in preterm labor and birth. These can include:

  • Failure to properly diagnose and treat infections or other prenatal problems;
  • Failure to identify the mother’s potential risk factors for premature birth;
  • Failure to pursue the correct treatment for a mother who is in jeopardy of preterm pregnancy;
  • Failure to treat preeclampsia or other medical issues during pregnancy;
  • Failure to diagnose symptoms of maternal or fetal distress;.
  • Failure to order the proper medication for an expecting mother;
  • Failure to prevent unnecessary preterm birth, and
  • Failure to prescribe medications to stop or slow premature labor.

If a medical professional fails to exercise the degree of care that is expected in similar circumstances, such as by violating established protocols and standards, this may be evidence of medical negligence.

Complications of Preterm Birth

A baby who is born too early has not had the chance to fully develop in its mother’s womb. The result can be a broad range of medical and health conditions for the infant. While some can be remedied over time, many such conditions are permanent. Most preterm babies must spend some time – weeks or even months – in the so-called NICU, an acronym for the Newborn Intensive Care Unit. Following are some of the health issues that can result from preterm birth:

  • Low birth weight
  • Brain injuries, including permanent brain damage
  • Congenital disabilities, also known as birth defects
  • Developmental delays such as in motor function, speech, and language
  • Respiratory problems, such as respiratory distress syndrome or bronchopulmonary dysplasia
  • Lung immaturity
  • Hearing and vision loss
  • Failure to thrive, generally meaning a poor rate of growth
  • Death

How Do I Know if Preterm Labor Was Caused by Medical Malpractice?

If a baby is born prematurely, it isn’t always the doctor’s fault. And even if the doctor made a mistake, it may not meet the legal requirements of negligence/medical malpractice.

Some indicators of negligence are if your doctor failed to give you prescription medication when you needed it, if the medical professional failed to monitor the mother or baby properly, if labor was induced when it shouldn’t have been, or if the medical providers did not adequately disclose the risks of medications and certain treatments such that there was a lack of informed consent.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to prove a medical malpractice case. The only way to know if medical malpractice was the cause of the preterm labor and subsequent injuries is to contact an experienced birth injury lawyer and work through the legal and factual issues together.

How Much Will I Receive If My Preterm Birth Claim Is Settled?

Your HPS medical malpractice lawyers will evaluate your case to determine what damages you are likely entitled to for a preterm birth. In most cases, we seek damages for the following:

  • Medical bills
  • Loss of companionship and enjoyment of life
  • Pain and suffering
  • Future medical care
  • Loss of earning capacity

The amount of a possible settlement will depend on the injuries that your baby has suffered. For example, if your baby now has a lifelong illness to contend with, such as cerebral palsy, developmental disabilities, or lifelong asthma symptoms, your settlement could be higher. If the case does not settle, you will have the right to go to trial and seek a significant verdict.

Should I Try to Settle or File a Lawsuit?

In a birth injury case, HPS will work with you to determine the amount of your damages. We will need to review any documentation that would prove medical negligence, including your medical records, tests performed and their results, witness statements, photographs of injuries, and any other evidence that would be relevant to your case.

The value of a case, for settlement or trial purposes, depends on the facts of each case and the evidence of potential liability of the health care providers.

Contact Haliczer, Pettis and Schwamm for Preterm Birth Injuries

We have worked decades with medical malpractice cases and understand how urgent and sensitive your case is to you and your family. If you believe your baby suffered health issues because of negligence by your doctor or other medical professional or medical facility, Contact our office today to speak with a Haliczer Pettis & Schwamm Orlando birth injury lawyer or Fort Lauderdale birth injury lawyer to discuss your options.