Can Premature Birth Cause Life-Long Complications?


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When babies are born prematurely, they may face weeks, months, or even years of difficulties, delays, and medical complications.

For a baby who was born prematurely, there can be a lifetime of challenges ahead. If a doctor who failed to diagnose the mother was in preterm labor or the hospital staff made an error during care or delivery, the doctor or hospital should pay for the child’s high medical expenses and ongoing lifetime expenses due to being born preterm.

What Are The Complications Of Being Born Preterm?

Babies who are born before 37 weeks of gestation are considered preterm. The earlier a baby is born in pregnancy, the higher likelihood of medical risks they have.

  • Babies born before the 37-week mark often have more health problems than infants born after the 37-week milestone. 
  • Premature babies can have long-term intellectual and developmental disabilities, as well as problems with vital organs, such as their lungs, brain, and eyes, according to the March of Dimes.
  • Preterm babies also may suffer from complications such as respiratory distress syndrome, brain hemorrhage, jaundice, and infections. Babies born prematurely may also suffer from other complications such as neurodevelopmental disabilities or chronic lung disease throughout their lifetime.
  • Preterm birth can affect a baby’s brain, leading to delays or disabilities in physical development, earning, communication, and the ability to take care of themselves. Babies born before 37 weeks may also suffer from hearing loss, vision problems, intestinal problems, Cerebral Palsy, behavioral issues, and mental health issues.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information reported that “overall, premature children require more services beyond routine care throughout childhood, including counseling, occupational therapy, physical therapy, special education, and special school arrangements.”

Can Preterm Birth Lead To Death?

Tragically, preterm birth can lead to death in infants and children. The World Health Organization sites preterm birth complications as the leading cause of death among children under the age of 5, which equates to about 1 million deaths globally each year.

“Disorders relating to short gestation and low birth weight are among the 10 leading causes of infant mortality,” according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI).

What’s The Cost Of A Preterm Birth?

Babies born prematurely often spend months fighting illness and working to survive. Preterm babies often spend the first few weeks, if not months, of their lives in the NICU, which comes at a high cost financially and emotionally.

The data the NCBI used estimated that a preterm birth costs, on average, about $59,730. This number only includes the cost of the hospital stay and care immediately after birth. Once a baby who was born preterm comes home, they may need ongoing physical and speech therapy and extra care. As an adult, they may require nursing services and suffer lost wages. These costs can add up to a large sum and become an undue burden on an average family.

My Baby Was Born Pre-Term. Do I Have A Malpractice Case?

For moms who went into preterm labor and delivered a premature baby, your doctor or the hospital may be at fault, and you may have a malpractice case.

If your doctor was unable to realize that you were in preterm labor and failed to administer the proper treatment plan, they might be at fault. Negligence also may be involved if the doctor did not order bed rest, stitch the cervix closed, prescribe steroids to help your baby’s brain and lungs develop quicker before birth, or administer other medications to slow or stop your preterm labor.

If your baby was born preterm and you’re concerned about future difficulties your child may face, call the offices at Ross Feller Casey right away. Our legal team can evaluate your case and help you take steps to financially provide for your prematurely born child.

Ross Feller Casey has a national reputation for winning record-setting recoveries in preterm malpractice cases. Our experienced legal team takes all medical malpractice cases on a contingency basis, which means you don’t pay for our services unless we win the case.

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