Pre-Term (Premature) Labor

Sometimes for identifiable and unknown reasons, pregnant women will go into labor significantly before their due date. If a baby is delivered at 36 weeks and beyond the normal forty weeks there are typically very few, if any, significant problems. Among babies who are delivered earlier than 36 weeks, there may be very serious problems, which can cause severe long-term disability. Infants born very early in the pregnancy (for example, 24-32 weeks gestational age) may develop brain damage as a result of prematurity and the need for mechanical ventilation (a tube placed into the windpipe and connected to a breathing machine), which may increase pressure on blood vessels in the brain. Such babies may also develop chronic lung disease (referred to as “bronchopulmonary dysplasia").

If preterm labor is diagnosed promptly before the cervix is significantly dilated, medicine can be given to stop labor. Occasionally, labor cannot be stopped for more than a day or two, but this is long enough to allow steroids to be administered. Even a day of steroids can have a major beneficial impact on the baby. Steroids can significantly mature the lungs, reducing the risk of respiratory problems and the need for artificial ventilation, which would lessen the chance of brain hemorrhage and chronic lung disease.

Malpractice usually occurs with failure to recognize and treat pre-term labor until it is too late. Recognizing pre-term labor may require a high degree of suspicion. The pains of pre-term labor, for example, are often not the same as normal labor pains. They may be irregular, at first, and they may also be indistinctly felt, mostly in the groin, abdomen, or back. Any pregnant patient with these sorts of symptoms which do not go away after a very short period of time should be promptly evaluated for pre-term labor.

Obstetric malpractice cases are among the most aggressively defended of all malpractice cases. Parents of babies damaged at birth are often told by doctors that the cause of their child’s condition is either unknown, genetic, or from an infection or some other cause when the true cause is obstetric malpractice.

In consultation with obstetricians, perinatologists, pediatric neurologists, neonatologists, pediatric pulmonologists, and other physicians, the lawyers at the Sweeney Law Firm will work with medical specialists to determine if your child’s injuries resulted from malpractice. If so, the Sweeney Law Firm may be able to recover monetary damages to help pay for medical expenses, physical therapy, and other rehabilitation costs, as well as compensate your baby for his or her emotional and physical pain and suffering, permanent disability, loss of quality of life, loss of comfort and companionship, loss of income, and other damages that occur in these types of cases.

Call the Sweeney Law Firm at 260-420-3137 or toll-free at 1-866-793-6339. Get answers to your questions. Learn your legal rights. There is no cost or obligation for us to evaluate your case.