Was Your Baby Diagnosed with Retinopathy of Prematurity Due to Medical Malpractice?
Most people do not know what retinopathy of prematurity is unless their loved one was diagnosed with it. Unfortunately retinopathy of prematurity due to medical malpractice in Oregon can result in permanent and life-changing problems for a family. While many babies are born full term (37 weeks or more), there are times when a baby may be born early due to one reason or another. Babies who are born early often face additional struggles and require the support of a knowledgable care team. While babies do often face challenges and complications, there are some complications that can be avoided entirely with proper care. Certain examples of this include avoidable brain damage, improper insertion of a nasogastric tube, medication errors and retinopathy of prematurity. Retinopathy of prematurity affects premature newborns born before 31 weeks. It can cause the baby to potentially be blind if not treated properly.
This is when it can be due to medical malpractice. Under Oregon and Minnesota law, medical malpractice is when a physician or other healthcare provider (including hospitals) fails to act within the standard of care required by law. This standard of care is what other reasonably prudent healthcare providers in similar positions, with similar training, skill, and knowledge, would have done in similar circumstances. A healthcare provider who fails to conform to the standard of care is said to have breached the standard of care or deviated from the standard of care. That can allow a victim or a victim’s family recover damages.
Under Oregon and Minnesota law, victims of medical malpractice cases involving birth injuries such as retinopathy of prematurity are entitled to damages that are usually monetary compensation. This can be anything from recovering compensation for pain and suffering, but also for medical bills and lost wages. These are important damages for a family to recover to help financially recover to a healthcare provider’s negligence.
Retinopathy of Prematurity Explained
Retinopathy of prematurity occurs in infants weighing 2.5 pounds or less and as mentioned, babies who are born before 31 weeks. While a physician may not be able to prevent retinopathy of prematurity from occurring, there are times when a physician does not identify the condition, or fails to provide treatment, leading to progressive ROP and eventually severe visual impairment and blindness.
Retinopathy of Prematurity Classification System
ROP includes five different stages indicate the severity of the damage. These stages include the following:
Stage I – mildly abnormal growth of the blood vessels – babies with stage 1 often are fortunate enough to have normal vision
Stage II – Moderately abnormal growth of the blood vessels – While worse than stage 1, babies still tend to develop normal vision without the need for treatment
Stage III – Significantly abnormal growth of the blood vessels – While infants with stage III still have a chance of having normal vision, sometimes if plus disease (enlargement and twisting of the blood vessels) is developed in addition to stage III ROP, treatment is needed
Stage IV – Retina is partially detached – Babies will face visual impairment due to this
Stage V – Babies with a completely detached retina – Babies with a completely detached retina will suffer severe visual impairment and blindness if treatment is not provided
How Can Medical Malpractice Cause Retinopathy of Prematurity?
As mentioned above, retinopathy of premature occurs in babies who are born significantly premature. It is a doctors’ job to maintain the pregnancy as long as possible to allow the baby to grow more before being born. If a physician fails to delay labor in a case where labor could have been delayed, this is medical malpractice.
Additionally, babies born before 32 weeks or babies weighing less than 3 pounds should be screened for ROP. This allows for proper and timely intervention. Failure to do so can result in permanent blindness and visual deficits. Failing to provide proper treatment within 48 hours of diagnosis, including oxygen treatment, scleral buckle placement, cryotherapy, photocoagulation, vitrectomy, or retina repair surgery is considered to be negligence if the baby suffers vision damage due to the delay.
Additionally, it is also considered to be medical malpractice if the baby’s ROP is improperly graded, causing the baby to miss essential and timely treatment. These are just a few of the many examples of medical malpractice in relation to retinopathy of prematurity.
What Should a Family Do Next?
If you believe that your loved one was a victim of medical malpractice, contact a medical malpractice lawyer for your birth injury case. There are many reasons to do this, even if you are unsure if you have a case. For example, at CK Legal:
- We offer FREE consultations to explain how we can help you in a lawsuit and what your legal rights are. There is no obligation to learn about your case from us.
- If we accept your case, we conduct a FULL investigation – this includes hiring experts and working with treating physicians for help
- We pay the upfront costs and disbursements of your case, meaning you do not have to pay for expert fees, medical records, copying costs, postage, or other expenses
- Our attorney’s fees are only paid AFTER we recover compensation for you in a settlement or court award
- There is no upfront risk to call our law firm to learn what your options are
- If we accept your case, we will use experts to calculate what future damages your baby has for retinopathy of prematurity injuries
- We can file a lawsuit on time to preserve your rights in a court of law
- We can handle appeals for you to protect your rights to an adverse judgment, and
- Other issues related to your lawsuit.
You Do Not Have Unlimited Time
Any birth injury case to your baby is serious, especially one that can lead to blindness. Unfortunately, you do not have an unlimited time to file a lawsuit. Rather, you only have a limited time known as the statute of limitations period. This time period is a time limit on filing a lawsuit. If you do not file a lawsuit within this time limit, you case could be automatically dismissed—even if your baby is blinded by retinopathy of prematurity due to medical malpractice in Oregon or Minnesota. Call us today to let us evaluate how long you have to file a lawsuit.
Retinopathy of Prematurity Due to Medical Malpractice is a Serous Problem for Families Let Us Help You
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice contact the Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form. We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.
Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles, St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.
We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take medical malpractice cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.