Birth Injury Malpractice: Wrongful Birth
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There are few experiences so rewarding as becoming the parent of a happy, healthy baby. However, that joy can quickly turn to grief when parents learn that their child was born with a significant birth defect or genetic disorder. Often, these conditions are untreatable and will last throughout the child’s lifetime.
Although birth defects occur in a number of circumstances unrelated to medical care, sometimes the defect may have been caused from an injury that occurred during the delivery. While most health care professionals are diligent and thorough during treatment, medical errors do happen. When a doctor makes a medical mistake while delivering a baby, the results can be tragic.
Misdiagnosis and Wrongful Birth
Medical errors can occur at any time during a patient’s pregnancy and delivery. Birth defects and genetic disorders are often detectable early in a pregnancy. Early detection of birth defects and genetic disorders allow parents to make the difficult decision about whether to continue the pregnancy.
If a medical professional fails to identify a birth defect or genetic disorder during pregnancy, the misdiagnosis may amount to medical malpractice. A doctor’s failure to follow protocols may be grounds for a wrongful birth claim. Medical errors commonly occur because a doctor fails to do the following:
- Obtain a thorough genetic history of both parents.
- Offer a quadruple screening when the woman is between 16 and 18 weeks pregnant. During this screening, the mother’s blood will be drawn and tested. If the levels of estriol (UE3), human chronionic gonadotropin (hCG), inhibin A and AFP (alpha-fetoprotein) are abnormal, the fetus is at risk of serious birth defects such as spina bifida or Down syndrome.
- Conduct a proper laboratory analysis for prenatal screening.
- Properly interpret screening results.
- Perform an ultrasound to determine whether the fetus is developing appropriately.
Many children who have been injured during childbirth or who suffer from birth defects will require expensive medical treatment throughout their lifetime. Parents may struggle to pay for their child’s health care. However, if the child’s birth defect could have been detected during pregnancy or the birth injury was a result of a doctor’s negligence, parents may be able to file a wrongful birth suit. A successful lawsuit may provide the family with sufficient compensation to pay for a lifetime of medical care, helping the child live up to his or her potential.
If you suspect that your child’s injury or defect may have been a result of medical malpractice, contact the lawyers at Weltchek Mallahan & Weltchek today. We have successfully represented numerous Maryland clients, helping them receive the compensation they deserve.
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