November 17th is World Prematurity Day
November 17 is World Prematurity Day, a time for raising awareness of the problems preterm birth causes for babies and families. Mayo Clinic explains that premature babies, especially those born very early, often face complicated health problems.
A premature baby will likely need a longer hospital stay in a special nursery unit at the hospital. Depending on how much care the baby needs, he or she may be admitted to an intermediate care nursery or the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
In honor of World Prematurity Day, we at Hare Wynn are sharing information about premature birth and your legal options if an injury or medical malpractice caused your baby to be born preterm.
Health Complications of Premature Birth
While not all premature babies experience complications, preterm birth can have short-term and long-term health problems. The earlier a baby is born, the greater the risk of complications.
Short-term complications that premature babies can suffer include:
- Breathing problems
- Heart problems
- Brain problems
- Temperature control problems
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Blood problems
- Metabolism problems
- Immune system problems
Possible long-term complications include:
- Cerebral palsy
- Impaired learning
- Vision problems
- Hearing problems
- Dental problems
- Behavioral and psychological problems
- Chronic health issues
Risk Factors for Premature Birth
Mayo Clinic explains that the exact reason for a premature birth often isn’t known, but the following risk factors are associated with premature delivery:
- Having a previous premature birth
- Pregnancy with twins, triplets, or other multiples
- An interval of fewer than six months between pregnancies
- Conceiving through in vitro fertilization
- Problems with the uterus, cervix, or placenta
- Smoking cigarettes or using illicit drugs
- Some infections, particularly of the amniotic fluid and lower genital tract
- Some chronic conditions, such as high blood pressure and diabetes
- Being underweight or overweight before pregnancy
- Stressful life events, such as the death of a loved one or domestic violence
- Multiple miscarriages or abortions
- Physical injury or trauma
Do I Have a Personal Injury or Medical Malpractice Case?
Whether you can sue for premature birth and recover compensation depends on the cause.
If a woman has a premature delivery after suffering a physical injury because of intentional wrongdoing or negligence, she could file a personal injury claim. Examples of this type of situation include:
- A woman goes into premature labor after a car accident and the driver was speeding, drunk, ran a red light etc.
- A woman falls downstairs at a business because the property owner didn’t post a warning sign despite knowing about a loose hand-rail.
- A woman delivers a premature baby because she is the victim of an assault.
A family may have grounds for a medical malpractice case if a doctor failed to diagnose a condition that put the mother at risk for premature delivery or didn’t treat it properly.
An attorney would need to establish what the standard of care is for a patient in that situation and then show the doctor failed to meet that standard. In some cases, the hospital could be held liable for negligence. Your attorney also must prove that the doctor’s or hospital’s negligence caused the premature birth.
Proving liability can be incredibly difficult in medical malpractice cases. Special laws govern medical malpractice claims, many of which are designed to make it very difficult for patients and their families to make any type of recovery.
How to Take Legal Action After a Premature Delivery
The best thing to do is contact an experienced lawyer if you believe your premature delivery or a loved one was caused by medical malpractice or by another person’s negligent or wrongful actions.
An attorney can evaluate your case and will know what specific laws apply to your situation. It’s important to get in touch with a lawyer as soon as possible because the statute of limitations in Alabama gives you two years to file a personal injury claim.
You can take steps to help strengthen your case by keeping copies of medical records and other documentation and by gathering what evidence you can. This may include:
- Medical records about the premature birth
- Records of any health conditions or other risk factors that may have contributed
- Record of all treatment for the mother and baby
- Records of any health complications suffered by the mother or baby
- Financial proof of necessary expenses
- A police report, the contact information of witnesses to an accident
Contact Hare Wynn for Help With Your Premature Birth Case
For more than 130 years, Hare Wynn has been helping individuals and families fight for their rights after someone else’s negligence caused harm and losses. Our trial lawyers have handled a wide range of cases, including complex medical malpractice cases. We have recovered over two billion dollars on behalf of our clients. Contact us today for a free case review.