Blindness as a result of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) is avoidable. With the proper care and treatment it can be prevented. Premature babies are susceptible to this potentially blinding disease. This is why medical personnel are trained to anticipate, recognise and treat it. One of the key role players responsible for preventing ROP and potential blindness is the ophthalmologist. An ophthalmologist is a highly trained eye surgeon and physician. When a baby is born prematurely the pediatrician or hospital should refer the child to this eye specialist for examinations.
How could the ophthalmologist be at fault?
The first task of the ophthalmologist is to examine the eye for irregular vascular development, a key indicator of retinopathy of prematurity. He or she must explain to the parents the importance of regular eye examinations and the potential consequences if this is not done. This specialist must continue to perform eye examinations at the correct intervals. If ROP is diagnosed while in its early stages there is a much higher chance of preventing its progress and preventing blindness.
It is a key responsibility of the ophthalmologist to properly diagnose ROP in its early stages. Once it has been identified he or she must initiate appropriate treatment immediately. Should blindness occur and it can be shown that the ophthalmologist failed to do any of the required things; you could have a case of medical negligence.
What to do if retinopathy of prematurity has resulted in blindness?
If your premature child has lost their vision you should contact Paul du Plessis Attorneys. This firm specialises in medical negligence claims, with a special interest in ROP. Free of charge they will assess if you have a viable case of negligence. Paul du Plessis Attorneys will provide your medical records to their panel of medical experts to assess if the ophthalmologist, hospital, pediatrician or other health worker could be responsible. Contact Paul du Plessis Attorneys today to discuss your circumstances. This firm is based in Gauteng but they will assist clients from all over South Africa. They manage claims in all jurisdictions.