You should find a malpractice attorney. Hospital malpractice is a very common cause of litigation. You should do so immediately because there are statutes that limit the time in which you can sue. Before any attorney will take the case to the next level he or she will have to have a 2nd opinion from another hospital or in this case a physician. These can sometimes cost from several hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars.
Respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) is a complication frequently encountered with premature infants. It generally occurs when the infant's lungs are not yet fully developed. Additionally, it is not uncommon for premature infants to experience developmental delays, including crawling late, low growth rates, or delays in speech development.
In order to pursue a claim for health care malpractice, you have to show more than a bad outcome. You also have to be able to prove that the bad outcome was caused by a breach of professional standards of care. The challenge you will have in this case is showing that your daughter's speech delay and any other complications are due to negligence (i.e., a breach of the standard of care) and not due to her prematurity.
You should collect your daughter's medical records, if you have not already done so, and contact a medical malpractice attorney in your state to ask them specific questions. Many malpractice lawyers will offer a free, no obligation consultation and help you decide whether your claim is worth pursuing or not.
DISCLAIMER: THIS ANSWER IS INTENDED AS INFORMATION ONLY, IT SHOULD NOT BE CONSIDERED OR RELIED ON AS FORMAL LEGAL ADVICE. ONLY AN ATTORNEY LICENSED TO PRACTICE IN YOUR JURISDICTION, AND WHO IS ACQUAINTED WITH THE RELEVANT FACTS, CAN GIVE YOU FORMAL LEGAL ADVICE.
There is no way in the world any experienced medical malpractice attorney can give you a yes or no "is this malpractice" answer based on a brief online posting and summary answer, even on a great legal site like AVVO.
The short summary answer is that the medical malpractice law comes right out and states that medical malpractice requires more than simply an unfortunate medical result. Professional medical liability is based on proof that the care that was given fell below the average standard of care, and that damages resulted as a result of that substandard care.
A determination is more a medical decision than a legal determination and malpractice attorneys work with medical experts to screen the facts and records in any given case prior to determining if any case merits going forward.
If you believe that there may be a case, please make an appointment with an experienced medical malpractice attorney in your jurisdiction for a confidential and no cost initial consultation.
I truly wish you the best.
This answer is provided for informational purposes only. Actual legal advice can only be provided in an office consultation by an attorney licensed in your jurisdiction, with experience in the area of law in which your concern lies.
In order to pursue a medical malpractice claim, you would have to be able to establish that your daughter's speech delay or other issues are attributable to, that is, were caused by, some failure on the part of the hospital or the hospital staff caring for her. Prematurity alone can be associated with developmental delays. The mere fact that she may have received better care had she been transforted immediately to a higher level NICU does not necessarily mean that she did not receive the proper care while in the NICU at the initial hospital where you gave birth to her. More information than you have provided would be necessary to evaluate whether there is any potential claim.
An experienced medical malpractice attorney would never try to tell you whether you had a case or not based on this amount of information. In every case, if an in-depth interview reveals a possible claim, then the attorney will need to first obtain all the relevant medical records and review them in detail and then, if he or she believes there was negligence, then have those records reviewed by a qualified medical expert in that field. So, the short answer is, no one can really tell you whether you have a case based on this information.
Also, a bad outcome is not necessarily an indication of malpractice. Bad outcomes occur in the absence of negligence every day. The question is whether a doctor or the hospital did or failed to do something that caused the outcome. Based on the information you've provided, it is simply impossible to tell at this time.
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