Florida Retinopathy of Prematurity Medical Malpractice Attorneys
More premature infants are being saved each year due to advances in technology and medicine. However, these newborns are still at high risk for life-threatening organ injury and other serious complications. One of these complications, retinopathy of prematurity, affects up to 57% of the approximately 28,000 premature babies born in the U.S. weighing 2 ¾ pounds or less, according to the National Eye Institute.
Retinopathy of prematurity is a condition in which blood vessels in the eye grow abnormally. Fortunately, most infants that develop this condition have only a mild form that corrects itself without any treatment. However, annually in the U.S., between 1,100 and 1,500 infants require some form of medical treatment for ROP, and between 400 and 600 become legally blind.
Since ROP can develop and worsen very quickly, it is important for doctors and nurses who provide healthcare for infants to know how it develops. They need to follow specific screening and monitoring procedures to detect the condition, and when it is detected, they need to know how to treat it effectively. Problems occur when ROP is not detected and treated early enough to prevent permanent vision loss.
If your child has vision loss because the doctors and nurses responsible for his or her care did not diagnose the condition or follow the procedures necessary to prevent it from getting worse, you may be able to hold them accountable for their negligence and the harm it caused. With a Florida medical malpractice claim, you could potentially obtain substantial compensation for your child’s medical expenses, pain, suffering, and other damages resulting from the medical negligence.
The Florida medical malpractice attorneys at Paul Knopf Bigger are committed to holding the negligent doctors who did not diagnose or treat your infant’s ROP effectively accountable for the harm they caused. Through the years, we have litigated numerous malpractice cases and have achieved many multi-million-dollar verdicts and settlements for the seriously injured victims and families whom we have had the privilege of representing. We welcome the opportunity to talk with you about a potential Florida medical malpractice lawsuit.
How Retinopathy of Prematurity Develops
When a baby is born prematurely, the blood vessels in his or her eyes may not develop properly. Retinopathy of prematurity occurs when abnormal blood vessels grow. In mild cases of ROP, the abnormal blood vessel growth stops, and the children develop normal vision without treatment. In more severe cases, the blood vessels enlarge, twist and bleed, causing scarring that pulls on the retina. In the most severe cases, the retina detaches from the back of the eye and vision loss occurs.
Infants with ROP have to be monitored closely because the disease can develop quickly, changing from mild growth of abnormal blood vessels (Stage 1) to moderate growth of abnormal blood vessels (Stage II) to severely abnormal blood vessel growth (Stage III) to a partially detached retina from scar tissue from enlarged, twisted blood vessels (Stage IV) to a completely detached retina (Stage V). All stages of ROP can be treated, but the earlier the better. Early vigilant screening and detection of the condition are essential to prevent severe vision impairment.
Screening, Monitoring and Treating Retinopathy of Prematurity
Doctors and other neonatal healthcare providers need to be trained to diagnose the different stages of ROP and implement effective treatment plans to prevent vision loss.
ROP can develop and progress quickly, so they need to monitor all premature infants carefully and involve specialists early in their care.
Pediatric ophthalmologists are the healthcare professionals most qualified to screen for, monitor, and treat ROP. They can distinguish between the different stages of the disease and will be familiar with each infant’s medical history in case it progresses. If the ROP has advanced to the point where scar tissue is forming, they can perform the most effective procedures to help save a child’s sight.
These procedures include laser therapy and cryotherapy. Both are designed to deter the abnormal growth of blood vessels in Stage III ROP and prevent the scarring that leads to retina detachment. They save the child’s central vision but unfortunately, destroy some of the peripheral vision.
In severe cases of ROP, other treatments are used to manage retinal detachment. A scleral buckle is sometimes used to manage the retinal detachment that has occurred. In the worst cases (stage V ROP), vitrectomy can be used to cut away the scar tissues on the retina and hopefully improve the child’s vision.
Florida Medical Malpractice Claims Involving Retinopathy of Prematurity
In Florida, a legitimate medical malpractice claim must show that the alleged negligent action(s) of a healthcare provider breached the prevailing professional standard of care for a provider practicing in the same specialty area. In other words, when a doctor or other healthcare professional is negligent and does not do what a reasonably careful healthcare provider in the same area of medicine would do, given the same set of circumstances, and that negligence results in a patient being harmed, the negligent healthcare provider can be held liable for medical malpractice, and the injured party or survivors of a fatally injured victim may recover damages.
This means that if a doctor, nurse or other healthcare provider failed to properly screen for, monitor or treat your child’s ROP and their vision was damaged due to that failure, then you may have grounds for a Florida medical malpractice lawsuit. The economic and non-economic damages you can recover under Florida law will depend on the specific facts of the case.
The experienced Florida medical malpractice attorneys of Paul Knopf Bigger can assess what happened in your child’s case and determine the compensation for damages you could potentially recover. We are committed to holding the negligent healthcare professionals accountable for their negligence and obtaining the substantial compensation you deserve for medical expenses, pain, suffering and other damages recoverable under Florida law.
The Florida Medical Malpractice Statute of Limitations
In Florida, the statute of limitations for medical malpractice cases is two years. The law stipulates that a medical malpractice lawsuit must be initiated within two years of the date the malpractice occurred, was discovered or should have been discovered. In cases involving a delayed discovery of negligence, the latest date allowed for initiating a lawsuit is four years from the date the negligent act occurred.
Parents whose child has been injured because a physician or other healthcare provider was negligent in screening, monitoring or treating their infant’s ROP should not delay in contacting a well-established Florida medical malpractice attorney. Initiating a medical malpractice claim requires a significant amount of time, since Florida law mandates a thorough presuit investigation, including a review of the claim and a verified written medical expert opinion, as part of the notice of intent to initiate litigation.
Proven and Trusted Florida Retinopathy of Prematurity Medical Malpractice Attorneys
Medical malpractice cases are often very challenging and complex. Achieving justice and winning the substantial compensation clients deserve requires the knowledge, skill and resources of accomplished trial attorneys like those at Paul Knopf Bigger. Our high-achieving attorneys have a long record of accomplishments, including many multi-million-dollar settlements and awards, and are committed to using our expertise to passionately pursue justice and achieve the compensation you deserve.
Paul Knopf Bigger is the Florida medical malpractice law firm attorneys throughout Florida and the U.S. trust to handle their clients’ complex medical malpractice cases. If your infant was not monitored properly and/or did not receive timely treatment for retinopathy of prematurity and suffered vision damage as a result, we are the attorneys you can trust to provide exceptional personal attention, representation and results.
Please call us at 800-673-9585 or submit the “Free Case Evaluation” form on our website to discuss your case with an experienced Florida medical malpractice attorney you can trust for excellence in the pursuit of justice.