When the Doctor’s Negligence Results in Preterm Birth

When the Doctor’s Negligence Results in Preterm BirthA preterm birth can cause serious complications for a newly born baby. Depending how early the baby is born and the circumstances involved, there is a strong possibility they may not survive the preterm birth. If they survive, they may develop severe and life-threatening disabilities, illnesses, and other complications that could affect them for the rest of their life.

What is a preterm birth?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a preterm birth occurs when a baby is born before 37 weeks. Most pregnant women’ due dates fall around 40 weeks. Many doctors will try to do everything they can to ensure that the baby can stay in the womb as close to the 40-week mark as possible. Each week is critical in the development of the child, which means that even a few weeks early could cause significant health issues. Different categories of a preterm birth include:

  • Moderate to late preterm birth: 32 to 37 weeks
  • Very preterm: 28 to 32 weeks
  • Extremely preterm: 27 weeks or less

Can a baby survive a preterm birth?

Depending on the circumstances of the preterm birth, a baby may be able to survive. However, most babies are unable to survive if they are born before 24 weeks. A fetus is not considered viable until around 24 weeks.

How often do preterm births occur?

The data shows that preterm births occur way too often. Here is some of the alarming data we found:

  • More than 13 million preterm births occurred in 2020. This means that one in 10 babies are born too early.
  • In 2019, around 900,000 children died due to preterm birth.
  • Preterm births are one of the main causes of death among children under five years of age.
  • There are drastic differences in preterm births based on race. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report that black women have a much higher chance (50 percent higher) of experiencing a preterm birth than white and Hispanic women.
  • According to the New Jersey Department of Health, 13 percent of black mothers had preterm births in 2021, compared to 10 percent of Hispanic, eight percent of Asian, and seven percent of white mothers.

How can a doctor’s negligence cause a preterm birth?

Doctors are responsible for providing reasonable medical care to mothers and their babies throughout the pregnancy, during birth, and after. Unfortunately, some doctors may fail to do this by acting carelessly or recklessly. The following are some of the various ways that a doctor’s negligence may cause a preterm birth:

  • The doctor missed important signs that indicated the pregnant woman was going into labor early.
  • The doctor did not provide the necessary medications to stop or slow the early labor.
  • The doctor did not order or fully explain to the patient that she would need to be on bedrest to avoid going into labor early.
  • The doctor did not treat the pregnant woman’s condition that led to the preterm birth. For example, a pregnant woman may have an incompetent cervix, which can cause the cervix to open before it is time to give birth. The doctor will need to treat this condition and close the cervix as quickly as possible to prevent the woman from losing a healthy pregnancy.

Even though there are risk factors that may increase your chances of experiencing a preterm birth, most of these events can be prevented by a competent healthcare physician.

What are the effects of a preterm birth?

There can be both short-term and long-term effects when it comes to preterm birth, including:

Short-term effects:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Weakened immune system, resulting in illnesses, infections, and other health-related conditions
  • Heart problems
  • Blood pressure problems
  • Inability to control body temperature
  • Digestive issues
  • Blood conditions, such as anemia or jaundice
  • Blood sugar problems

Long-term effects:

  • Cognitive impairments
  • Dental issues
  • Vision or hearing difficulties
  • Mental health problems
  • Behavioral issues
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Neurological problems
  • Trouble eating
  • More prone to illnesses and health-related conditions such as asthma and SIDS

What are the signs of a preterm birth?

If you think that you may be experiencing a preterm birth, it is crucial to seek medical treatment immediately. Some of the signs of a preterm birth include:

  • Any change in vaginal discharge
  • Feeling pain or pressure in lower abdomen or pelvic area
  • Aching back, especially lower back pain
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Contractions, which is painful tightening in the stomach
  • Gushing liquid from the vagina, which is a sign that your water broke

Who can I hold accountable for my preterm birth in Cherry Hill?

If you experienced a preterm birth, it is important to hold the responsible parties accountable for their actions. You should do this not only for you and your baby, but also for the millions of other women at risk of the same experience. To hold the liable party accountable for your preterm birth, you will need to establish medical malpractice. This can be challenging, but with the help of an experienced birth injury attorney, it is possible to achieve justice for you and your child. A Cherry Hill birth injury attorney can evaluate your case, conduct an investigation, collect evidence, and determine who is responsible for your preterm birth. Some of the parties that may be considered liable include:

  • The doctor
  • The hospital
  • The nurse
  • The surgeon
  • The doctor’s office
  • The pharmacist
  • A manufacturer

At Ferrara & Gable, our Cherry Hill birth injury lawyers understand that your baby would have most likely lived a healthy and thriving life if they had not suffered a preterm birth. We are here to help you secure the compensation you need to overcome the costs, and pain from dealing with the aftermath of this horrific experience. No amount of money will ever be able to erase what you went through, but holding the negligent actors accountable may prevent other women from becoming their next victims. Please call our office or submit our contact form to schedule a free consultation at our Cherry Hill office today. We proudly represent all of South Jersey.

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