Pregnancy can be a time as emotionally challenging as it is physically demanding; all parents want their children to be healthy once they are born, but there is always the risk of a complication. In prematurely born infants, this risk becomes especially elevated, and significant health issues such as developmental delays and problems with vision can manifest. Our team of medical malpractice attorneys has experience in advocating for clients whose preterm babies have developed retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), a condition that can progress into blindness if left untreated. Watch the videos below to learn more about ROP, and contact our office if you have further concerns about treatment for this disease or other birth injuries.
What Is Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP)?
Some premature babies can develop abnormal blood vessels in the retina, causing the retina to detach and possibly leading to blindness. ROP is sometimes self-corrective, but other cases call for surgery. If a physician catches ROP soon after birth, an ophthalmologist can use a laser to prevent the abnormal blood vessels from growing, scarring, contracting, and detaching the retina.
In some cases, blindness from ROP is avoidable with proper screening and treatment. If your newborn becomes blind because of ROP, the healthcare provider can be liable.
What Is the Treatment for ROP?
The treatment is a laser procedure that can be performed once the baby is born. Still counting gestational time, there is a window of opportunity of one and a half to two weeks during which the optic nerve can be lasered, so to speak, so that the appropriate growth pattern of the optic nerve is preserved, and the baby’s vision is preserved.
Are Medical Experts Necessary in the ROP Area?
There is a sub-specialty practice of medicine in ophthalmology in which pediatric ophthalmologists concentrate on retinopathy of prematurity. One of those experts will be necessary a claim for medical malpractice in the area of ROP.
If Not Treated Appropriately, Can ROP Cause Blindness?
In all likelihood, yes, untreated retinopathy of prematurity will result in blindness. Unless a laser procedure is performed to the optic nerve after the baby has been born, the baby will likely lose its vision due to ROP.