As reported by the AP, Federal health officials found that the parents of premature babies enrolled in a study of oxygen treatment several years ago weren’t properly informed of the risks: blindness or death.
Oxygen has been a standard of treatment for very premature babies. But too much has long been known to cause a kind of blindness called retinopathy of prematurity, and too little can increase risk of death. The study in question enrolled 1,300 babies at 23 hospitals between 2005 and 2009, to determine the optimal dose in that range.
Standard practice at that time was to use a specific range of oxygen, and researchers in the study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, randomly assigned babies to receive either the low end or the high end in that range.