Having a baby is a cause for great joy and anticipation. We all hope that
our babies are happy and healthy. It is the hospital and physician’s
responsibility to ensure a smooth labor and to anticipate any complication
that may arise. When a baby is born prematurely, he or she faces many
health risks. One of the top risks is developing Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP).
ROP is a treatable condition that affects many premature babies, primarily
those who weigh 2 ¾ less than other babies. If the infant is born
prematurely, he or she can potentially develop abnormal blood vessels
behind the eye, around the retina. There are five stages of ROP, the first
stage exhibiting minor abnormal blood vessel growth. The last stage is
most dangerous because the retina can become completely detached and cause
ROP is a disease that can be treated and monitored if it is promptly diagnosed.
Out of the average of 3.9 million babies that are born in the U.S. annually,
only 28,000 contract the disorder. But if neglected, the disease can lead
to blindness. It is estimated that an average of 400-600 newborns go blind
How Negligence Can Cause Newborn Blindness
Although Retinopathy of Prematurity is treatable, often infants go blind
because of medical negligence. The key to alleviating the disorder is
prompt diagnosis and fast management. There are many times where a physician’s
inaction can cause blindness.
Claims of medical negligence in ROP cases include:
- Failure of doctor to properly diagnose the disorder.
- Failure of doctor to refer patient to an ophthalmologist.
- Failure of doctor properly diagnose, treat, or follow up with newborn.
Negligence of this caliber is unforgivable. Blindness at any age is life-changing,
but it seems unfair for an infant to suffer through it. The mistake of
a physician or hospital can lead to years of mental and physical suffering,
loss in the quality of life for you and your child, and can overall change
the course of your child’s life. Such mistakes should not go unanswered.
If your child has suffered blindness because of ROP that was improperly
diagnosed, contact our leading Portland birth injury attorneys for a free
consultation today. They will see if you have a case and alert you to
your legal rights.