Cryotherapy Treatment for ROP
Our Attorney Reviews An Older, Effective Treatment
As the medical industry continues to advance, both in recognizing and in responding to potential health threats, hospitals have fewer excuses for failing to prevent treatable conditions. Newborn baby blindness caused by retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is one such injury that should never happen. Using complex and thorough means of gathering evidence, attorney Richard M. Shapiro can investigate your hospital’s records to find out if it failed to respond to the condition that lead to your child’s blindness. Although laser surgery is now the most common method of ROP treatment, cryotherapy is an older but potentially effective means to stop ROP before it causes permanent damage.
What is Cryotherapy as Treatment for ROP?
While somewhat outdated compared to laser surgery, cryotherapy is a still an acceptable treatment for ROP in infants in certain, closely guarded circumstances. Cryotherapy utilizes a probe to freeze the abnormal vessel growth. The probe fills with a gas that circulates to destroy the area of the retina affected by ROP. It then builds a wall stopping further spread of the disease.
Only premature babies risk suffering harm from ROP, particularly those born at or before the 30 week gestational period (measured by the number of weeks from mom’s last menstrual cycle) and weighing under 3 pounds. The blood vessels inside these premature babies’ eyes continue to grow abnormally within the retina. Because the wall of the abnormal blood vessels is abnormal, they leak fluid. The fluid adheres to the retina, hugging on the surface. This traction, if untreated, can then lead to a detached retina in infants and blindness. Once the retina detaches, the likelihood of vision is extremely remote.
Cryotherapy results in a loss of peripheral vision. However, it prevents blindness that would otherwise occur if doctors fail to act. Between the balance of total blindness and some loss of peripheral vision (that is inconsequential to the baby as he or she ages); if given the choice of total blindness vs. some inconsequential loss of vision, which would you choose for your baby?
My Doctor Never Recommended ROP Treatment and I Have a Blind Baby. What Can I Do?
Doctors frequently make the same excuses for failing to prevent this type of blindness by not recognizing retinal detachment symptoms. They claim that, since a rare portion of babies with ROP are at risk of developing blindness, it does not make sense to screen every child, or that the surgery is “too risky.” Both of these excuses are likely untrue in most situations. Failure to screen, monitor and timely treat ROP constitutes medical malpractice.
Too often, parents of children blinded by ROP assume that nothing could have been done, but that is not true. Your doctor should have made better decisions. Consequently, they deserve to be held accountable for their mistakes. Please schedule a consultation with us to learn more about seeking compensation for your trauma and expenses. We are one of the few firms in the nation focusing almost exclusively on these types of blind baby cases.