A diagnosis of spina bifida can be a devastating blow to an expecting mother. In some cases, a doctor or medical professional can be held liable for a child's spina bifida and resulting complications and injuries. If you believe that your child's spina bifida was caused by a Philadelphia doctor's medical malpractice, the team of attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian can help.
What is Spina Bifida?
Spina Bifida is a neural tube birth defect that occurs in an unborn baby's spine and spinal cord. When an infant has spinal bifida, his or her spinal vertebrae don't close around the spinal cord in its entirety. This leaves the spinal cord and surrounding nerves susceptible to injury.
When Can Spina Bifida be Considered Medical Malpractice?
Although there are many causes of spina bifida which are not the result of a doctor or medical professional, certain instances of the condition can rise to the level of medical malpractice.
In many cases of spina bifida, one or more operations are necessary to help improve the child's quality of life as he or she grows up. Although surgery cannot cure spina bifida altogether, it can help prevent any further damage to the nerves in and around the spine. Unfortunately, not all surgeries to treat spina bifida are successful. In some cases, a surgical procedure may do more harm than good. If this is the case, grounds for a medical malpractice case may exist if the plaintiff can prove that the surgeon acted negligently during the surgery.
Failure to Diagnose
In this age of technology and medicine, expectant mothers have more insight into their child's growth than ever before. Through extensive forms of testing, it has become much easier for a doctor to diagnose a birth defect in a fetus.
In the case of spina bifida, there are several tests that can uncover spina bifida in a fetus. An ultrasound, for example, provides an image of the child which can help a doctor detect spina bifida. Routine blood tests can also detect proteins in the blood which are common in infants with spina bifida. Amniocentesis, where fluid from the amniotic sac is removed and measured for levels of protein, is another form of testing which can help a doctor diagnose spina bifida in an unborn child.
When it comes to a diagnosis of spina bifida, the key to mitigating complications is early diagnosis. Although testing can't detect 100% of spina bifida cases, there are some instances where taking too long to diagnose the condition—or failing to diagnose the condition at all—can be considered negligent. Spina bifida complications progress if left undiagnosed, and the condition can worsen in a very short amount of time.
We're Here to Help
If you believe that your child's spina bifida was the result of a doctor's negligence, it's critical to speak with a medical malpractice attorney who has experience with cases involving birth injuries. To discuss your child's spina bifida with a member of our legal team, fill out an online case evaluation form or call (800) 529-6162 today.