If your obstetrician failed to diagnose your baby’s serious or fatal congenital condition before birth, or if they did not adequately explain the severity of the child’s congenital abnormalities following testing, you may be eligible to hold them liable for wrongful birth.
To learn more about this type of case, reach out to the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today by calling 1-800-222-9529. You can connect with a birth injury attorney in your state who will review the facts of your case for free and can take legal action on your behalf with no out-of-pocket costs to your family.
For a free legal consultation, call 1-800-222-9529
Wrongful Birth Lawsuits & Injury Cases
Almost any case where doctors failed to adequately warn parents of the risk of a serious congenital condition before birth can support a wrongful birth case. This includes situations when:
- The parents underwent genetic counseling, but the doctors did not warn the parents of the risk of conceiving a child with a genetic condition.
- After amniocentesis and other prenatal testing, the doctor failed to explain the child’s congenital condition to the parents.
- The doctor failed to screen the baby for congenital conditions and monitor its progress, missing the diagnosis until after delivery.
To prove this type of case and hold the doctor, practice, or hospital liable, you need to establish an acceptable standard of care and determine if your doctor acted negligently. In most cases, a birth injury lawyer does this by enlisting the help of another area doctor as a medical expert witness. This doctor will testify to how they would have handled the situation and whether or not they believe your doctor acted negligently.
If you can prove medical malpractice and you take legal action before your state’s statute of limitations runs out, you may be able to recover compensation to help you pay medical bills, provide ongoing care for a severely disabled child, and cover other related costs.
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Wrongful Birth Overview
As a normal part of monitoring pregnancy and the baby’s growth, your doctor should run a number of tests to detect any genetic or congenital abnormalities in the fetus. After each test, the doctor should talk to you about the results, including explaining any possible issues with the baby’s development.
If there is a reason to believe there may be a problem, some parents opt to undergo genetic counseling before conceiving. In theory, this should allow them to learn about any risk factors for genetic conditions and make a decision about if they want to have a baby or explore other options for growing their family.
If your doctor failed to take the actions they should have during either of these steps, it may be grounds for a wrongful birth medical malpractice case.
Wrongful Birth Causes
Almost any type of serious congenital disability that the doctor failed to inform parents about could support a wrongful birth case. This list includes:
- Anophthalmia or microphthalmia
- Anotia or microtia
- Congenital heart defects
- Diaphragmatic hernia (CDH)
- Down syndrome
- Esophageal atresia
- Spina bifida
- Limb deformities
- Other physical abnormalities
Wrongful Birth Symptoms
There are no specific symptoms that a baby born with a congenital abnormality may experience. The effects of these disorders and conditions can vary widely in nature and severity. Some require immediate treatment, others may call for ongoing care and support, while some may cause the newborn to pass away.
Wrongful Birth Diagnosis and Treatment
Wrongful birth cases center on a doctor’s failure to diagnose a birth defect or inform the parents of a high risk of an abnormality in their baby before birth. Once the infant is born, diagnosis and treatment will vary based on the medical condition affecting the newborn.
Wrongful Birth Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if my baby has a wrongful birth injury?
If your newborn was born with a serious physical abnormality that should have been apparent on an ultrasound or a condition that should have been diagnosable through other prenatal testing, you may have a viable wrongful birth injury.
Can a wrongful birth injury be fatal?
Depending on the nature and severity of your baby’s condition, it may be fatal.
Who is liable for a wrongful birth injury?
The doctor who failed to inform you of genetic risk factors, or who did not diagnose your baby before delivery, is liable in most wrongful birth cases. However, there may also be additional liable parties, including other practitioners, the clinic, or the hospital.
What is the statute of limitations for a wrongful birth injury?
Every state has its own time limit for how long you have to take legal action against a doctor for medical malpractice. In addition, your state may allow for tolling of the time limit if the victim was a minor or they may have a statute of repose that puts a strict deadline on filing a birth injury lawsuit regardless of the victim’s age. Your attorney can help you understand the deadlines in your case.
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Wrongful Birth Glossary Terms
- What is Failure to Diagnose? Failure to diagnose occurs when a doctor skips routine testing or carelessly reviews test results and misses a diagnosis other doctors would make.
- What is Genetic Counseling? Genetic counseling is testing that allows potential parents to see how genes and birth defects that run in your family may affect your children. Parents may use this to determine the risk of certain abnormalities in their children.
- What are Genetic Anomalies? Genetic anomalies is another term for a birth defect caused by genetics.
Talk to a Wrongful Birth Medical Malpractice Attorney in Your Area
If you had a child born with a congenital abnormality the doctor failed to diagnose before birth, you may have grounds for a wrongful birth lawsuit. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at 1-800-222-9529 to get connected with an attorney in your state.
Wrongful Birth News
Wrongful birth is a rare legal claim that a doctor didn’t provide parents important information on whether to proceed with a pregnancy. A case in the UK demonstrates this claim. BBC reports.
A mother asked for a Down’s syndrome screening for her child during a pre-natal visit. When asked later about the screening during the the checkup, the NHS says that the mother declined it.
However, the court found that the mother had misunderstood the question. When the baby was later born with Down’s syndrome, the parents were “angry and upset”. The court ruled that the sonographer and a midwife who saw her at a later appointment didn’t do their duty by asking why the mother refused after saying she wanted a screening.
The court said that the plaintiff would have asked for more testing had she been told if her baby had a high risk for Down’s syndrome. They also emphasized that they were not suggesting that the birth of a baby with Down’s syndrome is an unwelcome event.
The parents adore their baby and are determined to give him the best life possible. However, they wanted to get answers about why the child’s Down’s syndrome wasn’t caught early so they could make an informed choice about whether to proceed with the pregnancy.
The couple is expected to receive a settlement in the six-figure range.
An unusual wrongful birth claim in Georgia has been denied by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Reuters has the story.
Xytex Corp is an Atlanta-based sperm bank. The Zelts used their services to conceive a baby but got an unpleasant surprise when they discovered who the donor was. Xytex said that their donor was a healthy and highly-educated individual.
When the family dug into his background, they found out he was a convicted felon who dropped out of college and suffered from schizophrenia. Had the Zelts knew this donor’s true background they would have selected another donor, or even another sperm bank due to the false advertising.
Unfortunately for the Zelts, their claim to sue Xytex has been denied on a legal technicality. Georgia does not recognize wrongful birth as a reason to sue someone, thus there is no legal basis for them to sue the sperm bank. The 11th Circuit was unanimous in their decision, but they did say that Xytex’s actions were “reckless, reprehensible, and repugnant.”
Had the case gone through to trial, they would likely have a strong case. Schizophrenia has a hereditary component. While the general chance of developing it is 1%, it goes up to 12% if a parent has it.