Babies born prematurely, or "preemies," inevitably face a greater struggle than babies carried to term. However, few babies have struggled more than one born weighing less than one pound. In 1989, Madeline Mann was born weighing 9.9 pounds, while Rumaisa Rahman was born in 2004 weighing 9.2 pounds. They were born at 27 and 26 weeks respectively, although their birth weights were equal to that of an 18-week old fetus. Despite the difficult beginning, both are doing well today.
A report found that Mann was leading a fairly normal existence as a college senior. "I'm the pretty normal, tough cookie, nice kinda girl," she stated in an email. She does not spend much time thinking about the circumstances of her birth, instead choosing to think ahead. Rahman also appears to have a normal existence. The only thing suggesting a link to their premature births is their size: Mann is 4 feet 8 inches and has asthma, while Rahman was 3.5 feet tall at five years of age. Both of their mothers suffered from pre-eclampsia, where women develop severe hypertension as a result of their pregnancies. The condition is believed to be caused by the immune system's adverse reaction. While Mann and Rahman's mothers took steroids to develop their babies' lungs, both Mann and Rahman spent two months on breathing machines after birth. That both are doing well suggests that even though children born prematurely may have more struggles, premature birth does not necessarily condemn them to a poor-quality life.
Premature births have been traced to a number of factors, including genetics, parental habits, and environmental factors. Studies have shown that women who live in more polluted environments are more likely to give birth prematurely than women who don't. Children born prematurely are more likely to suffer from health and development problems. If your child was born prematurely and is suffering from related problems, and if you believe that the environment was a factor, you may want to consider filing a toxic tort lawsuit. You would first need to locate the offender responsible for causing your child's premature birth. Was it emissions from a power plant, or something less specific, such as emissions from thousands of vehicles passing through the area on the freeway? In order for a lawsuit to succeed, you must sue specific persons or entities. A lawsuit will always be dismissed if the plaintiff cannot identify the offender.
If a power plant were responsible, you would most likely receive a monetary award if you succeeded with your suit, which could pay for medical expenses and therapy, among other things. If the culprit were harder to pin down, however, such as thousands of cars on a freeway, your best option might be to seek an injunction: you could use it to force the entity responsible for regulating pollutants to take action. Past groups have sued the EPA in an effort to get it to enforce environmental laws.