Premature Delivery Due to Medical Malpractice

PeriStats, an online hub of data developed by the March of Dimes Perinatal Data Center, defines preterm birth as a live birth that happens before 37 completed weeks of gestation. Preterm is further classified to the following:

  • Late preterm which occurs 34 to 36 weeks
  • Moderate preterm which occurs 32 to 36 weeks
  • Very preterm which is less than 32 weeks of gestation

The overall observation is that if the baby is born earlier, then morbidities or illnesses increase.  It is the duty of the doctors to provide the proper care and treatment for a mother that is experiencing premature delivery or exhibits the risk factors for premature labor.  Failure to provide this standard duty of care can result in devastating birth injuries due to their negligence or malpractice.

Preterm Birth in Michigan

The same online portal also shows that in 2017, 1 in 10 babies was born preterm in Michigan. This number accounts for 10.2% of live births last year. When it comes to ethnicity, the preterm birth rate is highest among African-American infants with 13.7% followed by:

  • American Indian/Alaska Natives = 10.8%
  • Hispanics = 8.9%
  • Caucasian = 8.9%
  • Asian/Pacific Islanders = 8.5%

In terms of the number of babies per birth, multiple births in Michigan were about 8 times as likely to be preterm than singleton births (one baby only).

Preterm Delivery Risks

According to the Mayo Clinic, the specific cause of preterm birth is not often clear. However, they were able to identify risk factors of premature delivery which includes the following:

  • Has a record of having a previous premature birth
  • Multiple pregnancies, e.g. twins, triplets, etc.
  • Cigarette smoking or drug-use
  • Having only six months in between pregnancies
  • Conceiving via in vitro fertilization
  • Cervix, uterus, or placenta issues
  • Infections in the amniotic fluid or lower genital tract
  • High blood pressure, diabetes and other chronic conditions
  • Being underweight or overweight before pregnancy
  • Death of a loved one, domestic violence, and other stressful life events
  • Abortions or multiple miscarriages
  • Physical injuries or trauma

Despite these risk factors, it is essential to note that premature birth can happen to anyone. As a matter of fact, the Mayo Clinic points out that many women who experienced a preterm birth have no known risk factors.

Warning Signs of a Premature Delivery

The American Pregnancy Association shares that premature birth may actually be avoided. To do this, it’s crucial that one is aware of the warning signs and should immediately call the doctor for further help. The following are warning signs and symptoms of premature labor:

  • Five or more uterine contractions within an hour
  • Watery fluid leaking from the vagina. This could be an indication that the water has already broken.
  • Cramps in the lower abdomen that may come and go or be constant. These feel like menstrual cramps.
  • Abdominal cramps that comes or does not come with diarrhea.
  • Sensing a low and dull pain in the back, particularly below the waist.
  • A pelvic pressure as if the baby is being pushed down
  • Increase or change in vaginal discharge

If you or a relative may be experiencing any of these signs, it is best to go straight to the hospital to seek medical attention. The doctor should take prompt action and provide proper treatment depending on their observation.

Medical Malpractice Resulting in Premature Delivery

A doctor must provide prompt and accurate care for a mother that’s experiencing or may experience premature labor. Failure to do so could be classified as malpractice. Below are examples of how a doctor could commit malpractice:

  • Failure to prescribe the appropriate medicine to both the mother and the baby to prevent preterm birth. For babies, steroid injections are administered to accelerate the development of their brains and lungs.
  • Not ordering a bed rest for a mother who is at risk of having premature labor.
  • Improperly treating ineffectual cervix with sutures
  • Not being able to observe and catch the signs of preterm labor
  • Not being able to prescribe the proper medication for stopping or slowing down preterm labor.

To confirm if the doctor has failed to provide the appropriate care, it is best to check what a reasonable physician would do in a similar situation. If for example, a competent physician who has the same background as the attending doctor was able to diagnose the patient who is undergoing preterm labor, then this means that the attending doctor can be considered liable for any injuries or deaths resulting from his/her negligence.

Get Help from a Michigan Premature Delivery Lawyer

If you believe that you, a friend or a relative of yours has been improperly diagnosed by your attending doctor which resulted to damages, it’s best to get in touch with a Michigan Premature Delivery Lawyer. If you are looking for top-rated lawyers in Michigan, look no further than The Clark Law Office. Contact us for a free consultation so we can discuss your case.  We charge no fees unless you win your birth injury case!