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New Study Links Premature Birth to Air Pollution

Premature birth is a serious problem for newborns. A premature birth can be the cause of many medical conditions and could be dangerous. Premature births can also create complications during the labor and delivery, making it more likely that a birth injury could occur. A recent study published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH, concludes that there is a link between premature births and harmful particulates in the air. This new finding shows that those living in the most polluted areas have the highest incidence of preterm deliveries.

Premature Births

The standard pregnancy term is about 40 weeks and any babies born after week 37 are counted as full-term. Preemies born prior to 37 weeks may have very significant medical issues due to underdevelopment. Those infants closer to full term are usually more likely to survive and have fewer medical and developmental problems than those younger infants. Some of the problems that can occur with premature babies include breathing or lung function problems, digestion problems, impaired hearing or vision, and delayed growth including behavioral development. Premature infants are also at higher risk for birth injuries.

Premature Births Are Expensive

Premature infants require a great deal of medical attention both during and after delivery. Premature births are not only dangerous for babies and their mothers, they are also quite costly. It is estimated that there are approximately 16,000 premature births every year in the United States. These account for an estimated $4.3 billion annually in associated medical costs. Premature births require a team of specialists at birth and then countless hours of medical treatment over their lifetimes. Many premature babies will eventually catch up during their growth while some will suffer from permanent disabilities that require care for the duration of their lives.

Birth Injuries and Premature Babies

Birth injuries can be slightly increased in premature babies. This is because they already have some potential medical problems that need to be quickly evaluated and treated. Lung under-development is one of the most common problems that may occur. Babies need immediate care including incubation and monitoring. The failure of the doctor to properly resolve a medical problem at birth could cause significant injuries to the infant. Just a few minutes of oxygen deprivation may cause serious disabilities or even death.

Birth Injury Legal Action

When a birth injury happens it can be devastating to the family. The baby could be very severely hurt or may even be fighting for life. At this difficult time the last thing on the minds of parents is legal action. However, if a medical mistake was made during the birth it requires attention. You will be facing extremely high medical bills and possibly expenses for ongoing care and treatment. These expenses should be compensated by the doctor who caused the injury. The law typically requires that you file a legal claim within two years of the incident. If your infant was born prematurely and suffered a serious birth injury, contact the skilled legal team at Levin & Perconti for a consultation.

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