Folic Acid Disorder
Prenatal care is an absolutely pivotal part of an OBGYN’s practice. To ignore that part of treating pregnant women is to go against the tenets of the job, and it can harm the children that the doctors are ostensibly trying to protect. One of the most pervasive conditions that can occur in this situation is folic acid disorder or deficiency (FAD). If you were inexpertly counseled on your prenatal care, you may have a claim for medical malpractice.
A doctor has a duty to his patients, and in the case of an OBGYN, both the mother and the fetus are his patients. Providing appropriate prenatal care to mother and baby is part of that duty, and prenatal care includes everything from screenings to blood tests to advice on supplements and vitamins. One of the most important vitamins a pregnant woman should take is folic acid, which helps the baby develop, most notably in the spinal cord area. The neural tube is the protective coating which binds the spinal nerves together, and folic acid helps it to develop. Without it, the baby runs the risk of developing spina bifida, or worse, anencephaly.
Spina bifida occurs when a baby is born with an opening or sac at their lower back which exposes the spinal cord. This can, understandably, be extremely dangerous. The most common effect of spina bifida is significant nerve damage, which can lead to paralysis. Anencephaly, by comparison, is a condition where the top of the neural tube does not close completely, most often leading to a baby born without parts of the brain and skull. It is also linked to folic acid deficiency. Almost all children born with anencephaly die very soon after birth.
Malpractice and Wrongful Death
While mothers can do some research about which vitamins or other supplements they should take more of during pregnancy, it falls upon the medical professional to have the final say. A doctor who does not advise properly on prenatal care has breached the duty of care they owe to their patient.
To be guilty of medical malpractice, a medical professional must breach the duty of care, causing damages to their patient by not adhering to a proper standard of care. The standard of care is somewhat subjective, but Florida does define it as a standard deemed “acceptable and appropriate” by other similar doctors of equivalent care and skill. This would likely require medical expert testimony, should the case go to trial.
Also, if the unthinkable happens and your child passes away, a subordinate cause of action might be for wrongful death – a death caused by the wanton or reckless actions of another person. Wrongful death can be caused by medical malpractice, so it is possible to sue under both theories.
Contact A Folic Acid Deficiency Attorney
If you believe you have received inadequate prenatal care, you may be able to hold your doctor to rights. The law firm of Gary Roberts & Associates is well versed in malpractice law, and has a long history of success. We keep the client involved at every step of the process, including working with your schedule at flexible hours and keeping Spanish speaking personnel on staff. Contact our West Palm Beach office today for a free initial consultation.