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July 1972


Arch Ophthalmol. 1972;88(1):86. doi:10.1001/archopht.1972.01000030088021

To the Editor.  —A consequence of the more liberal use of oxygen for premature infants in recent years has been an increase in the number of cases of retrolental fibroplasia (RLF). A further consequence has been a proliferation of malpractice litigation against physicians and hospitals. Awards in these cases frequently reach multiples of six figures.To be sure, in a percentage of these cases there are possible grounds for malpractice. However, physicians testifying for the plaintiff agree that a significant number of decisions in favor of the patient are made more on the basis of emotion than on fact. A visually handicapped infant is persuasive evidence when presented to a jury.Generally, the plaintiff's case is predicated on the sine qua non that exposure of the premature retina to excessive concentrations of oxygen is the cause of RLF. While most physicians agree that oxygen has a major role in the

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