Pittsburgh Birth Injury Lawyer
Babies born prior to 37 weeks gestation are considered to be premature. Such "preemies" are at risk for a variety of complications, including neurological and respiratory problems, and even death in the most severe cases.
Could Early Delivery Have Been Prevented?
We have handled a number of cases over the years involving premature births, and many of them center on questions about whether the early delivery could have been prevented or managed better.
Risk Factors Of Premature Birth
There are a variety of factors that can contribute to or increase the risk of premature birth, including age of the mother, length of time between pregnancies, infection, fertility drugs and many others. Obviously, if a woman is at higher than normal risk for premature birth, the doctor should be looking very closely for any signs of premature labor such as contractions, abdominal cramping, back pain or bleeding prior to 37 weeks. If an expectant mom is threatening to deliver early, there are certain things that the doctor can do to try to alter the situation.
Tocolytics Can Delay A Delivery
First, there are drugs that can be given called tocolytics to try to delay the actual delivery. It is important to try to "buy time" to delay the delivery so that other treatments can be given to the baby to improve his or her health and prepare him or her for delivery. For example, one of the biggest problems that "preemies" have is immature lungs, as the lungs are one of the last organs to mature during gestation. Therefore, if a mom is threatening to deliver early, the doctor can administer medication called surfactant to help speed the maturity of the lungs. Also, steroids are often given to improve the health of the child who may be born early. In some instances, the doctor "misses" the signs of premature labor and none of these protections are taken and, sadly, the pregnancy may end in an early stillbirth.
Hospitals Should Be Well-Prepared For Premature Babies
Once a baby is born prematurely, most major hospitals are well-equipped to deal with the situation. Indeed, there have been a great many advances in the treatment of premature babies over the last decade or so and, therefore, there is a chance to minimize long-term effects on the child.
In the end, the best thing the doctors can do to help those moms who are at risk for premature delivery is to "be on the lookout" for signs of premature labor and react accordingly.
Free Case Evaluation By An Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney
If you had a premature baby and you have questions about how your pregnancy was managed, please feel free to contact us today for an evaluation of your case at 412-281-2200.