Can My Obstetrician Be Held Liable for Failure to Provide Treatment leading to Premature Birth?

I was diagnosed as a high-risk pregnancy since my first child was born prematurely and I am 38 years old. My obstetrician confined me to bed rest during the third term of my pregnancy and gave me drugs to prevent pre-term labor. However, my second child was born prematurely at just 28 weeks and now suffers from Respiratory Distress Syndrome and requires the assistance of mechanical ventilation in order to breathe. Shouldn’t my doctor have foreseen this risk and prescribed medications in order to promote lung development in my baby prior to his birth?


Answers (1)

High-risk pregnancies can often lead to birth injuries to the baby, some of which can be prevented with proper monitoring and diagnosis by your obstetrician. A high-risk pregnancy is more prone to premature birth. Premature babies are far more susceptible to developmental problems, which may require temporary or permanent medical assistance such as mechanical ventilation to assist in breathing.

A full-term baby’s lungs naturally produce surfactant, which lubricates the lining of the air sacs within the lungs. This allows the inner surfaces of the air sacs to slide against one another without sticking during breathing. When premature birth is a possibility, your physician should administer a corticosteroid treatment before birth to speed up the lung development of the fetus. This helps in the prevention of respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) and related complications following premature birth. RDS occurs when the lungs do not fully inflate or function normally, making breathing difficult or impossible without medical intervention. Research has found that giving the mother a steroid medication at least 48 hours prior to delivery greatly reduces the incidence and severity of respiratory disease in the baby. These cases are often complicated and may require the expertise of medical and legal professionals. Attorneys who specialize in birth trauma and medical malpractice may be able to assist you in determining liability and recovering monetary damages.

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