Spina bifida is a birth defect that is often caused by medical malpractice. If you or someone close to you has given birth to a child with spina bifida, you should take the time to consult a Baltimore birth injury attorney who can assess the merits of your case. At Arfaa Law Group, Julia Arfaa and our team can explore the circumstances of your case and determine whether malpractice may have taken place. Birth injury cases can be more complex than they initially seem, and having the right attorney on your side is important to ensure that your legal rights are preserved.Spina Bifida and Its Impact on Children
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1,500 babies are born with spina bifida each year across the United States. By some estimates, this means that spina bifida affects 0.7 out of 1,000 births. Thus, it is a rare but extremely serious birth neural tube defect characterized by the failure of the backbone and the spinal cord to close before birth. The condition generally occurs in the first trimester of pregnancy, when the two sides of the embryo’s spine fail to join together. The most pervasive type of spina bifida causes malformation close to the lower back. Some common disabilities caused by spina bifida include:
- Weakness or paralysis of the legs;
- Limb stiffness;
- Feeding difficulties;
- Bowel and bladder issues;
- Orthopedic problems, such as club foot, hip injuries, or scoliosis;
- Impaired cognitive functions; or
- Paralysis of the lower extremities.
Spina bifida can lead to a medical malpractice claim if a physician or another medical professional who supervised the mother’s pregnancy failed to diagnose the condition in time and failed to inform the parents. Medical malpractice takes place when a medical professional fails to adhere to the standard of care that applied to the situation, thereby causing harm to a patient. The standard of care refers to the level of care that another medical professional in the same specialty would use under the same set of circumstances. As a result, the standard varies depending on the situation.
In order to establish medical malpractice, the plaintiff and their attorney must prove that a doctor/patient relationship existed in which the doctor owed the patient a duty of care. The doctor must have breached the duty of care owed to the plaintiff, and the doctor’s breach of care must have been a direct cause of the child’s spina bifida. For example, spina bifida is a condition that can be easily detected through ultrasound. Thus, a reasonably prudent physician adhering to the appropriate standard of care would look out for spina bifida in an ultrasound and alert the parents accordingly.
If your child developed spina bifida as a result of medical malpractice, you probably are entitled to financial compensation for your child’s harm. Under Maryland law, victims of medical malpractice can seek both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include things like medical expenses, lost income, rehabilitation costs, and therapy costs. Non-economic damages include items such as pain and suffering, disfigurement, and other damages that are harder to quantify in a dollar amount. Of course, the exact amount of compensation that a plaintiff will be entitled to receive will vary depending on the specific facts of the case. In some cases, the compensation can come through a settlement agreement, while in other cases, it may be awarded by a jury.Discuss Your Medical Malpractice Claim with a Baltimore Attorney
If your child is dealing with the challenges of spina bifida, you should reach out to a skilled medical malpractice lawyer in the Baltimore area without delay. At Arfaa Law Group, we are committed to holding negligent medical professionals accountable for the harm that they cause. We proudly represent parents and children throughout the state of Maryland who are living with the consequences of a health care provider’s preventable error. To set up a free appointment with a compassionate and knowledgeable attorney, call 410-889-1850 or contact us online.