Premature Birth Injury Lawyers in New Jersey
Preterm Birth Malpractice Attorneys Serving Clients throughout NJ
According to the World Health Organization, 15 million babies worldwide are born before 37 weeks each year, meeting the criteria for premature or preterm. In addition, complications from preterm birth cause the most deaths among children under the age of five. In the United States, approximately 12% of births are preterm, with about half occurring during early labor. But preterm labor does not necessarily need to lead to premature birth. In fact, all but 10% of preterm labors lead to delivery after a week or longer. With this in mind, doctors can offer mothers at risk for premature birth preventative therapies to reduce the risk of premature birth, and it is imperative that they do so. While preterm birth can be prevented and the period of gestation prolonged in certain cases, others will inevitably result in premature birth.
When a baby is born preterm, they are immediately at increased risk for a vast array of serious birth injuries. Due to their underdevelopment, many babies born before 37 weeks experience medical problems, ranging from mild to extreme, depending on how long before their due date they are born. The earlier a baby is born, the more complications are likely. Prematurity ranges from late preterm at 34 to 36 weeks, to extremely preterm at 25 weeks. At the earliest, preemies can weigh between 1.5 pounds and at the latest, 5.5 pounds. Many premature newborns remain in the hospital in special neonatal care units or the neonatal ICU if very premature, often until their due date. This underscores the necessity for obstetricians and other doctors to take incredible care and proceed with extreme caution when managing labor and delivery for premature newborns. Failure to prevent preterm labor if at all possible, and mismanaging premature birth, both have the potential to result in devastating harm for a highly vulnerable infant.
If your baby was at risk for preterm birth and your doctor failed to identify associated risk factors, or medical professionals failed to properly manage your early childbirth and your baby suffered premature birth injuries, it is strongly encouraged that you consult a knowledgeable birth injury lawyer who can examine your case and advise you of your rights. If your child’s injuries were caused by unrecognized risk factors for preterm birth, improperly handled preterm labor, or substandard medical care when born premature in New Jersey, you may be entitled to compensation. Our highly skilled New Jersey birth injury attorneys at Fronzuto Law Group are here to provide personalized guidance and dedicated legal counsel for you and your family, as we often assist clients with claims arising from premature delivery and other severe birth injuries. When you are facing the fiscal and emotional costs of a birth injury, our attorneys will zealously advocate for the compensation you and your child need now. For a free consultation, call (973)-435-4551 or contact us online today.
Identifying Risk Factors for Premature Birth
Risk factors for, and dangers of, premature birth are actually well-known. Causes for prematurity range from a mother’s weight, to injury and trauma. Mothers who have high blood pressure, high stress, diabetes, or obesity are more likely to have premature babies. Also, babies conceived within six months of another pregnancy or through in-vitro fertilization are more likely to be premature. Mothers who smoke, take drugs, have multiple births or a history of prior premature births, miscarriages or abortions, are prone to having other premature births. Physical injuries, maternal infections, blood clotting problems, vaginal bleeding and cervical, uterine, or placental problems affect prematurity too.
To avoid premature birth and related complications, doctors can give progesterone to women with twins or abnormal cervixes, or stitch the cervix closed to delay labor onset. Bedrest is often prescribed for women with pregnancy complications, like multiple pregnancy, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia or hypertension, or vaginal bleeding. Doctors may order a patient having contractions to abstain from sex, stay in bed and remain fully hydrated to avoid labor. If her water breaks early, the patient is given antibiotics to avoid infection that induces labor. If labor has begun already, the aim is to prolong delivery sufficiently to provide steroids for speeding up the baby’s lung development and magnesium sulfate to lower the risk of cerebral palsy and other brain disorders. Beyond these medical interventions, there are labor-delaying drugs to help prevent lung and heart damage to the fetus.
While there are numerous medical interventions that can help with preventing and managing preterm labor and related injuries, some negligent doctors provide inadequate care, which can lead to devastating harm for newborns. Fortunately, doctors who fail to timely diagnose and treat preterm labor may be held liable for a premature newborn’s short and long-term medical problems, in addition to undue pain and suffering and other damages. If your baby was born early, you know all too well how difficult it was to wait for your baby to leave the hospital, as you are left constantly worrying about their survival.
Complications from Preterm Birth
Premature babies are born before their bodies and organs are ready for life outside of the womb. Since they are born too early, their organs are underdeveloped, making them dependent on medical specialists for help eating, breathing, staying healthy, and keeping warm. Because they are so fragile, premature babies must be carefully monitored for arising complications. Prematurity symptoms often appear like other conditions, so proper diagnosis is critical.
Since they lack the body fat that develops over the last weeks of pregnancy, preterm babies are born with lower body temperatures. They often require incubators because of their inability to control their temperature to avoid hypothermia, which could lead to respiratory and low blood sugar complications. Those extra weeks in the womb also give the baby much-needed time to fully develop their lungs; as such, preemies often have respiratory problems, typically labored breathing. Due to a lack of a protective coating in the underdeveloped lungs, premature babies may develop newborn respiratory distress syndrome (RDS), chronic lung disease, or apnea (stopped breathing) in the first weeks of life. They often have difficulty feeding as well, due to undeveloped sucking and swallowing reflexes.
Aside from low birth weight complications, preemies may suffer heart conditions, as well as low blood pressure. These babies are prone to brain hemorrhages, which may result in short or long-term brain damage. Moreover, preemies are more susceptible to gastrointestinal problems, anemia, kidney dysfunction, seizures, jaundice, and weak immune systems, making them more likely to develop infections. As for long-term problems, preterm babies suffer disproportionately with cerebral palsy, developmental disabilities, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), psychological problems, and visual, hearing, and dental defects. In addition, prematurity can cause lifetime chronic illnesses, like persistent infections, asthma and eating problems.
Talk to a New Jersey Premature Birth Injuries Lawyer who can Help
If you believe your physician failed to take the appropriate actions to delay your preterm labor and delivery, or your doctor mishandled premature birth, ultimately causing harm to your newborn, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice claim. If your baby suffers from premature birth injuries in New Jersey, contact our experienced New Jersey birth injury lawyers at Fronzuto Law Group to discuss your specific situation and how to pursue monetary damages to provide for your baby’s future. We can be reached online or by phone at (973)-435-4551 to provide you with a free consultation.
- Premature Birth, MayoClinic
- Preterm Birth Fact Sheet, World Health Organization (WHO)
- Prematurity, Stanford Children’s Health