Evidence in ROP Cases
Our Attorney Discusses the Process of Proving the Facts
Like all medical malpractice claims, evidence is the key to a successful retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) case. Richard M. Shapiro investigates every aspect of the situation and utilizes the best ROP experts in the nation to prepare the case on behalf of the baby born blind and his or her parents.
In our experience, the vast majority of ROP cases are settled without going to trial. This is because the defense sees and understands that our team of experienced retinopathy of prematurity lawyers is ready and prepared to prove medical negligence in court.
Tangible Proof in ROP Medical Malpractice Cases
Collecting evidence and proving liability is a laborious and detailed process. When you contact us, you will speak with an attorney about the events that led to your child being blind or visually impaired from ROP. The next step before a case is filed is to gather evidence, including medical records from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and other hospital records.
For medical malpractice claims, it is essential to have objective ROP experts review the records and write affidavits (written statements under oath) testifying that medical errors led to blindness from ROP. At Shapiro Law Group, we always speak with at least two medical consultants independent of one another. They both must agree that medical malpractice occurred. They must also agree that your child’s blindness could have been prevented if your doctors had taken reasonable precautions. We may find that they did not perform the adequate number of screenings, that they failed to monitor the progression or regression of the disease or that they performed treatment too late or incorrectly.
Investigation of the Ret Cam Evidence
Were there Ret Cam photos taken during your baby’s stay in the NICU? Ret Cam is a brand name for a particular digital photograph taken by a sophisticated microscope with a camera attached to it. The digital images disclose objectively what the status of your child’s retina was at the time of examination. The Ret Cam evidence can show whether the ROP was evident and in what part of the retina the disease was located. These are extremely important issues in determining whether there were medical errors made.
The Ret Cam evidence can demonstrate how severe the disease has progressed prior to treatment; however, not all hospital NICUs utilize a Ret Cam. In those institutions where Ret Cam is unavailable, it begs the question: Why not? The camera equipment is expensive, but considering how many children it would serve, it may be negligent to not have this important equipment in the NICU.
There are some experts that actually make a threshold determination in places where a screening ophthalmologist may be unavailable, such as in a remote location. The Ret Cam permits experienced ophthalmologists to make a threshold decision as to whether in-person follow up examinations must be made. Ultimately, it helps determine the proper treatment that must be rendered. Some experts in America actually screen for ROP in countries where there are no screening ophthalmologists available. Interpretation of the Ret Cam photos determines at-risk children. Sometimes, this results in lengthy travel for the child and their family to major institutions for treatment.
What Can Parents Do to Assist in ROP Cases for a Baby Born Blind?
To maximize your chance of a successful case, we suggest that you contact our attorneys as soon as possible. There are certain statutes of limitation that regulate cases like these. If you fail to meet the deadlines, it could have unfortunate consequences for your family’s future. Evidence can become stale, lost or destroyed over time.
Parents are frequently the best historians for us in providing detailed explanations as to what happened to their precious babies. Many moms keep written journals of daily activities of care in the NICU. These journals serve as invaluable tools for the Shapiro Law Group in establishing exactly what happened.
Save all your medical documents and write down notes in a journal of what happened to you when the information is fresh in your mind. Dates, times and recommendations from your doctor will become extremely important as the case develops.
There are very few attorneys that focus nearly all of their time and energy on this statistically rare but entirely preventable injury that is ROP blindness. Richard M. Shapiro has over 30 years of legal experience, and for no out-of-pocket expenses, he will represent you and your child against negligent medical professionals.