When a mother is expecting, she anticipates a healthy baby and an uneventful birth. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Some babies are born prematurely or with a significantly low birth weight. All premature and low weight infants share the risk of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), which could result in permanent blindness.
While dangerous, many of the harmful medical complications associated with ROP are preventable with proper treatment. If your child has lost their eyesight due to the negligence of your doctor or hospital staff, contact our Maryland attorney for retinopathy of prematurity immediately. Our dedicated attorneys have fought for decades to hold medical professionals responsible for their preventable errors. Call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291 to schedule a free consultation.
Retinopathy of Prematurity and Premature Births in Maryland Hospitals
Retinopathy of prematurity is an unfortunate complication in some premature births. Following a premature birth, a child experiences a disruption in the development of the blood vessels located in their eye as they develop outside of the mother’s womb. This disruption often leads to abnormal growth of the blood vessels, resulting in scar tissue and bleeding. In some rare cases, the blood vessels attach to the retina and cause it to separate, possibly permanently blinding the child.
It is not uncommon for a mother to be unaware that ROP is a complication associated with premature birth. However, an estimated 1 out of 8 births is premature, and the number of cases of ROP is rising.
The Stages of Retinopathy of Prematurity and Potential Medical Mistakes
Treatment and diagnosis errors could occur in all stages of ROP. During the first stage, a doctor might notice a small abnormal blood vessel growth. This growth is an early sign of ROP, and while not dangerous to the child at this point, a doctor should require regular monitoring to track the growth.
In the second stage, the growth becomes more pronounced. It is critical to continue monitoring at this stage, increasing the frequency as ROP has the potential to develop quickly. Failure to do regularly monitor the growth could result in permanent harm.
During stage three, the growth of the blood vessels is progressing towards the center of the eye, not evenly across the surface. At this point, the chances increase that the retina could detach. Treatment is likely necessary, and a failure to act could cost the infant their sight.
ROP has reached the fourth stage when the retina becomes partially detached. At this time, ROP is probably developing faster, and surgery is required to prevent the retina from completely separating, blinding the child. Hopefully, with proper monitoring and medical decisions, the child does not reach this stage. However, if the monitoring was sporadic or if the attending doctor failed to recognize the symptoms, you could have a medical malpractice claim.
Stage five is when the retina has fully detached, potentially blinding the premature infant. Without immediate surgery at this point, the child will be facing a severe loss of vision or total blindness.
Medical Errors in Maryland Hospitals Resulting in Retinopathy of Prematurity
It is generally believed that many cases of retinopathy of prematurity are preventable, which is troubling for a family whose child suffered an ROP injury. Unfortunately, obstetricians sometimes fail to take the required actions to prevent a child from becoming permanently blind due to ROP complications. Attending doctors in a Maryland neonatal intensive care unit should be held accountable if their negligence resulted in a premature child being blinded. ROP develops and advances quickly, so premature infants must be monitored for symptoms regularly. When your child is not screened for signs of ROP, they are being placed at an unreasonable risk of further medical complications.
Who is Liable for Injuries Caused by Retinopathy of Prematurity in Maryland?
The negligent conduct of medical professionals following premature birth often causes retinopathy of prematurity. Premature babies should be regularly evaluated for ROP, and when necessary, the premature infant must undergo immediate surgery to prevent permanent blindness.
A number of errors could cause a baby to lose their vision due to complications of ROP. Failing to diagnose or misdiagnosing the signs of retinopathy of prematurity in a premature baby in one of the common errors. If this occurs, the child will never receive the necessary treatment. It is possible for hospital staff to monitor a premature child but accidentally switch medical charts with another infant. There are also situations where the signs are apparent, but the attending doctor decides not to perform immediate surgery.
If your child is injured because of a preventable case of ROP, you should be compensated for your emotional stress and the physical harm your child suffered. Depending on the mistake that occurred, the attending physician, the hospital staff, or the duty nurses could all be held responsible for the injury. Our Maryland retinopathy of prematurity attorneys will thoroughly examine the circumstances surrounding your child’s injury to determine what party, or parties, should be held accountable.
Call Our Maryland Attorney for Retinopathy of Prematurity for a Free Consultation
The birth of a child is supposed to be a joyous time. Unfortunately, complications often occur, sometimes resulting in a premature birth. When this happens, your child is facing a number of additional risks. One such risk is retinopathy of prematurity. While this condition could result in blindness, if properly monitored and treated, the chances are that your child will be healthy. However, when medical mistakes occur, the outcome could be much more severe. If your child was injured due to the negligent conduct of your doctor or their medical team, contact our Maryland attorney for retinopathy of prematurity. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call the Law Offices of Randolph Rice at (410) 694-7291.