West Palm Beach Spina Bifida Lawyer
Most of the birth defects suffered as a result of medical malpractice have a neurological component. Spina bifida, a specific type of neural tube defect, is no exception. There are a host of factors that could contribute to your baby being born with spina bifida, and if you were not informed of any risks, your doctor may be potentially liable.
Symptoms and Causes
The neural tubes make up the part of a fetus that eventually evolves into the brain and spinal cord. They essentially group and cover the nerve bundles, ensuring their safety. Spina bifida is when all or part of the neural tube does not form correctly, and it can lead to difficulties in the bones of the spine or the cord itself.
There are three types, one much more common than the others. The most mild is when there is only a small gap between vertebrae, and a person with this variant will have almost no neurological symptoms at all. Meningocele, the median variant in terms of affecting daily life, presents when the protective coating of the spinal nerves pushes out between the vertebrae. Surgery may be needed to remove this excess coating, but the spinal cord generally develops as normal.
The most common and severe form of spina bifida is called myelomeningocele, and it appears when tissues and nerves are actually exposed, and no protective covering has formed whatsoever. Often this can appear to manifest as a ‘sack’ on the child’s lower back area. Neurological issues stem from this exposure, and they can include:
- Paralysis or difficulty walking;
- Seizures; and/or
- Bowel difficulties, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) or incontinence.
The exact cause of spina bifida is as of yet undetermined, though studies have linked folic acid deficiency with its more severe forms. Certain medications have also been tenuously linked to higher risk factors for the condition.
Given that the cause of spina bifida is still uncertain, obtaining recovery can be difficult even if you feel your medical professional was negligent. However, there are two methods which are more likely to be successful given the current state of medical malpractice law: failure to diagnose, and negligent prescription.
Failure to diagnose a physical disability is a valid cause of action when the patient (or those acting for the patient) would have benefited from the knowledge. It is usually possible to test in utero for several birth defects, spina bifida among them. Given that the more mild forms of spina bifida respond well to treatment, parents not having knowledge of the diagnosis beforehand could possibly delay treatment options once the child is born.
Negligence in prescribing is fairly self-explanatory; certain medications such as common antidepressants (Paxil, Zoloft, Prozac, and others) have been linked to a higher risk of spina bifida, especially in older mothers. If your doctor failed to recommend an alternative medication for you, given your age and other already-present risk factors, they may have breached the acceptable standard of care.
A West Palm Beach Spina Bifida Lawyer Can Help
The West Palm Beach birth injuries attorneys at Gary Roberts & Associates understand that any good parent just wants to make life better for their children. We have years of experience in trying cases of this nature, and we will keep you in the loop at every step of the process. We are able to accommodate Spanish speakers, and will work with your schedule to meet at flexible hours. With a good spina bifida attorney to handle the work, you can focus more on what matters: your child. Contact our West Palm Beach office today or a free initial consultation.