New knowledge doctors are gaining about caring for premature babies is shedding light on troubling problems with past care.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal column, studies now show that the high levels of oxygen conventionally given to “preemies” may contribute to a leading cause of blindness (the condition “retinopathy of prematurity”), and that several medications previously commonly prescribed for preemies, including antibiotics and anti-reflux drugs, don’t provide many benefits and raise the risk of negative reactions.

Obviously, it’s good news that medical professionals are now learning about these issues and changing their practices. But, given that the rate of “pre-term” deaths in the United States has increased by more than a third since the early ’80s, it raises the question: How many premature babies have been harmed as a result of doctors’ unknowing mistakes? Has yours?

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