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Preterm labor negligence is when a baby is delivered prematurely, or before the usual 39 to 40 weeks that a woman typically carries a child. Even though a baby is viable after 24 weeks and could live outside of the womb at that point, they may still face many health complications from being born too early.
Unfortunately, premature birth is the no. 1 cause of infant illness and death. When babies are born too early, they are typically rushed to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), where doctors will monitor them closely. Depending on how severe a baby’s condition is, they could be in the NICU for weeks or months on end.
Sometimes a baby is born prematurely because of natural causes. For example, if a mother is carrying multiple babies at once or has given birth to a premature baby in the past, then she is more likely to have a premature one again. If she has gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, or excessive amniotic fluid, an ineffectual cervix, kidney disease, a clotting disorder, an untreated urinary tract infection, bacterial vaginosis or another genital infection, a sexually transmitted disease, or an infection in her uterus, then she also may be more likely to give birth too early.
However, sometimes a woman gives birth too early because of negligence, also known as medical malpractice. Perhaps a doctor did not follow the proper protocol, monitor her closely enough, or prescribe her medicine when she needed it. Perhaps they induced the mother too early. There are many different scenarios that could have occurred and cause preterm labor.
Symptoms of Preterm Labor Negligence
If a woman may be going into preterm labor, the following symptoms could occur:
- Menstrual cramps
- Vaginal bleeding
- Pressure in the pelvis or vagina
- A low, dull, or tight backache
- Abdominal cramps in the lower abdomen
- Uterine contractions that happen 10 minutes apart, or less
- Fluid leaking from the vagina
- Increase in vaginal discharge
- Not as much movement form the baby
Then, if a baby is born prematurely, it may experience the following:
- Respiratory, digestive, vision, and hearing issues
- Bleeding in the brain
- Neurological defects
- Developmental delays
- Fluid accumulation in the brain
Whether a mother is having symptoms of preterm labor or a baby is experiencing symptoms of illnesses after they’re born, a doctor needs to diagnose the problem ASAP and treat it.
Treatment for Preterm Labor Negligence
The treatment for preterm labor negligence will depend on who is being treated and for what. For example, if a mother has gestational diabetes, she may need to engage in physical activity, go on a special meal plan, undergo insulin injections, and have her blood glucose levels tested every day. If there is excessive amniotic fluid, she may have to take medication or go through amniocentesis, a medical procedure to drain the fluid. A doctor might also prescribe medicine for an infection or an STD as well.
If a baby is born prematurely and has health issues, then again, the treatment is going to depend on the illness. For example, if they have developmental delays, they may have to go to occupational therapy to learn how to do everyday tasks. If they have seizures, they may need to take anticonvulsants to control their episodes, and if there is fluid accumulation in the brain, the baby may need to undergo surgery.
Treatment could be ongoing for the rest of the baby’s life. They may have to attend regular physical and/or occupational therapy appointments, use medical equipment, go through multiple surgeries, and/or take medications.
How Do I Know if Medical Malpractice Caused Preterm Labor Negligence?
If a baby is born prematurely, it isn’t necessarily the doctor’s fault. And even if the doctor made a mistake, it may not meet the legal requirements of negligence/medical malpractice.
Your doctor may have been negligent if they failed to diagnose your condition even though it was obvious, they did not give you prescription medication when you needed it, they failed to monitor you and/or your baby, they induced labor when they shouldn’t have, they did not deliver the baby properly, or they failed to mention risks of surgeries, medications, and other treatments.
Proving medical malpractice is very difficult, and unfortunately, your case could get thrown out before it even gets to a courtroom. The only way to know if medical malpractice was at play is to call an experienced birth injury lawyer. They will let you know if you have a case and, if so, how to potentially prove it.
How Much Will I Receive From a Preterm Labor Negligence Settlement?
While a birth injury lawyer won’t know how much you could receive in your final settlement, they will go after damages for:
- Medical bills
- Loss of companionship and enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Future medical care
- Loss of earning capacity
The more damages you have, the higher your settlement could be. For instance, if your baby now has a lifelong illness they have to contend with, your settlement could be higher. If a medication your doctor prescribed you causes serious health issues, that could also affect your settlement. When you contact your birth injury lawyer, they will come up with the damages you’ll go after.
Settlement Offers in a Preterm Labor Negligence Case
With a birth injury case, your lawyer will determine the amount of your damages. They will also ask you for proof of preterm labor negligence such as your medical records, results of tests performed, witness statements, photographs of injuries, and more. If you need help collecting evidence, they can assist you.
Then, your lawyer will get in touch with the defendant, who is the doctor, and attempt to work out a settlement. Typically, birth injury cases settle before they ever go to trial. This is because it’s less time-consuming and more cost-effective for both parties. But if the defendant doesn’t want to settle, then you can always take them to court to attempt to retrieve a suitable settlement.
Why Reach Out to a Birth Injury Lawyer?
A birth injury lawyer is your advocate during a time that you feel wronged. They will work hard on your behalf to retrieve the settlement you deserve. You shouldn’t have to cover your medical bills and other expenses if your doctor is at fault. That’s not fair. Your lawyer will stick by your side and fight on your behalf so that you can focus on your health as well as your baby’s during this stressful period.
Preterm Labor Negligence Injury Attorneys
If you believe you and/or your baby experienced health issues because of medical negligence, then call up a birth injury lawyer today. They will discuss your preterm labor negligence case with you and attempt to get you the compensation you deserve.
Contact Gilman & Bedigian 24/7 for a free consultation at (800) 529-6162.