Medical Negligence and Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP)
Over 100 000 babies are born prematurely, per year, in South Africa. There are many heartwarming stories of these premature babies who grow into healthy adults with no related issues. Sadly, however, medical and health complications linked to premature births are now the second biggest killer of children under 5 years, after pneumonia.
How is Retinopathy of prematurity or ROP linked to Medical Negligence?
Causes of premature births are numerous, and are often completely unavoidable. However, in some cases premature births can be the result of negligence on the part of the medical practitioner. In the case of negligence, you need to take steps to submit a claim to ensure that you are adequately financially covered to treat any possible complications that may arise because of the early delivery.
One of the resultant outcomes of a premature birth is Retinopathy of prematurity or ROP. ROP is an eye disorder that primarily affects premature infants weighing about 2¾ pounds (1250 grams) or less that are born before 31 weeks of gestation. The smaller a baby is at birth, the more likely that baby is to develop ROP.
- Usually develops in both eyes
- Is one of the most common causes of visual loss in childhood
- Can lead to lifelong vision impairment and blindness
- First diagnosed in 1942.
Why you should seek compensation for ROP
Visual impairment or blindness can have far-reaching effects on an individual’s life. At the outset, social development is affected because the individual is unable to pick up on non-verbal cues. Motor development is also affected.In addition, others may feel a lack of engagement since they cannot maintain eye contact.
Berthold Lowenfeld, a psychologist, researcher, and advocate for the blind says “A great many experiences which are taken for granted with seeing children are either impossible or much more difficult for blind children”.
It is important, therefore, to seek adequate compensation that will ensure that the affected child gets the best chances at living a normal life. There will be several additional expenses incurred at the various stages of his/her life, depending on the severity of the damages and you need to be able to cover these expenses.
Why you should work with a reputable lawyer
Navigating the legal maze alone is possible but will add undue stress at an already stressful time in your life. Working together with a professional who has handled hundreds of cases, is familiar with the system and has compassion for your circumstances is a far more practical approach.
Read More in our article about protecting the rights of ROP Victims and their families.