Spina Bifida affects many children across the world.
However, you may not know about Spina Bifida or how it’s caused unless you, or someone you know, is diagnosed.
It’s important to know that it is not your fault if your child is diagnosed with it.
We’re going to break down Spina Bifida — how it’s caused and the different types, and if you can file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
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What is Spina Bifida?
Spina Bifida is a disease affecting your baby’s spine.
It’s a type of neural tube defect which occurs when the neural tube fails to properly develop or fails to properly close. The condition typically starts showing within the first 28 weeks of pregnancy and can be tested for early.
There are three types including:
- Spina Bifida Occulta
Myelomeningocele is the most common and most dangerous of the three types of Spina Bifida.
If your baby is diagnosed with myelomeningocele, they may lose feeling in their feet and lower extremities, or lose their ability to walk.
Meningocele is less aggressive than myelomeningocele. There is typically little damage to your baby’s nerves and the disabilities are minor.
Meningocele Spina Bifida causes part of your baby’s spinal cord to come through their spine with nerve fluid in their sac, rather than your baby’s spinal cord.
Spina Bifida Occulta is the least damaging form of Spina Bifida and it’s usually not discovered until later in life. This type occurs when there is a small gap in your baby’s spine, but there is no opening, or sak, on the back.
The side effects, or complications, vary from child to child.
Some of their complications can include:
- Mobility disabilities or paralysis
- Issues with their bladder or going to the bathroom
- Insensate skin
- Deformed joints or bone fractures
- Latex allergies
In extreme cases, there are possibilities of excess fluid in the brain, called hydrocephalus. Your child may have injuries to their brain. This can cause a short attention span, difficulty reading, and even problems with visual and physical coordination.
As you can see, Spina Bifida is a life-long disease that can cause severe disabilities.
What causes Spina Bifida? Is it Preventable?
There is no straight answer to the cause of Spina Bifida.
Scientists and Doctors both say that genetics and your baby’s environment together may have an influence. However, Spina Bifida is preventable.
There are screenings available to check if your baby has Spina Bifida or other defects.
The screenings can begin as early as 16-18 weeks with a Quadruple Screen, also known as an AFP screen.
Standard ultrasound examination takes place at 16-22 weeks of gestation. It’s imperative that this examination is done by a certified sonographer to adequately examine your baby’s anatomy. Fetal abnormalities can often be found with an ultrasound examination.
And lastly, an amniocentesis procedure can be done. This is essentially a thin needle that is inserted for a sample of amniotic fluid (the fluid that surrounds the womb).
If high levels of amniotic fluid is detected, then a second amniocentesis is usually done to confirm the diagnosis.
In fact, your medical provider should provide you with the information and opportunity to have these screening tests done so you can make an informed decision on whether to keep carrying or terminate your pregnancy.
There are also factors that put your baby at a higher risk of developing Spina Bifida. These factors include having low levels of folic acid, the mother’s diet, and having a diagnosis of diabetes and obesity.
If your baby has been diagnosed with Spina Bifida, you may have a medical malpractice case if your medical provider missed the diagnosis or failed to diagnose your baby in time.
Can I Sue for Medical Malpractice?
The short answer is yes, but there’s a lot to it.
Speaking with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help clarify if your medical professional was in fact negligent.
Your doctor, or the hospital they are treating you in, can be held legally responsible for the diagnosis of Spina Bifida. A medical malpractice attorney needs to prove there was an established relationship, negligence, and a severe injury due to the negligence.
To prove negligence, your lawyer will need to provide you were being treated by the physician, or were under the treatment of the physician in the hospital where the injury occured.
They will also need to prove that your physician, or treatment within the hospital, was substandard of care and thus resulted in an injury.
Spina Bifida is considered a birth injury and falls under medical malpractice.
Examples of negligence resulting in Spina Bifida diagnoses include:
- Failure by medical provider to provide, or discuss, any of the screening tests that would show Spina Bifida;
- Medical professional improperly interpreted your screening test results;
- Your medical professional incorrectly dated your pregnancy;
- If your medical professional did not make their diagnosis in time or failed to inform the parents in time to exercise their right in making a choice to continue their pregnancy
If you’ve experienced any of these situations, or lack thereof, then you should speak with a medical malpractice attorney as soon as you’re ready.
Contact An Experienced Medical Malpractice Attorney
A trusted and well-known medical malpractice attorney has many benefits.
Since you need evidence for your lawsuit, a medical malpractice lawyer would be extremely helpful in procuring and managing the evidence.
Another benefit would be that an experienced and trusted medical malpractice attorney will understand the system and have a proven track record. They can provide their legal expertise so you can make the best decisions for your lawsuit.
Our medical malpractice attorneys will work compassionately to fight for you.
We understand you have a lot going on financially, so we also don’t expect a single payment from you until we’ve won your case.
We’re here to fight for you.
Contact us today for a free consultation.