Cystic fibrosis is caused by a genetic defect, meaning babies are born with the condition. If your newborn has cystic fibrosis, they may begin to display symptoms during their first year. Many children receive a diagnosis shortly after birth during a routine blood test, but this test can sometimes fail to detect the condition.
Cystic fibrosis makes the body produce an overly thick, sticky mucus that can harm the digestive and respiratory system. Cystic fibrosis can result in chronic infections, congestion, inflammation, and difficulty with nutrition and digestion. If your child’s first bowel movement is blocked because the stool is too thick, this could also be a sign of cystic fibrosis.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine reports that one in every 2,500 to 3,500 babies born to white families have cystic fibrosis. This condition also occurs in almost every other ethnic group, although it is less common.
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Identifying Cystic Fibrosis in a Newborn
Most babies in the United States undergo a blood test for cystic fibrosis and other conditions shortly after birth. While this does identify many cases, it is possible for a false-negative to occur, meaning a doctor may tell a parent incorrectly that a child with cystic fibrosis does not have the condition.
In these cases, the parents may be the first to recognize cystic fibrosis when their child presents symptoms. If cystic fibrosis symptoms are detected, a doctor may order a sweat test as well as a genetic test to determine if the newborn has this condition.
A child with cystic fibrosis may also receive a diagnosis after developing meconium ileus. This condition develops before the baby has its first bowel movement when the meconium creates a blockage in the intestine. This condition may require immediate treatment or even surgery. Meconium ileus is a common sign of cystic fibrosis.
If your baby did not test positive for cystic fibrosis at birth and did not have immediate concerns following birth, they may begin to show signs in their first year of life. This could include:
- Respiratory infections
- Coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath
- Difficulty gaining weight
- Salty tasting skin
It is also important to note that cystic fibrosis is a complex diagnosis that can lead to a variety of symptoms. Some children will have only a few of these symptoms, while others may have very mild symptoms. If you are in doubt about your child’s health, you should have them evaluated by a doctor.
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Cystic Fibrosis and Medical Malpractice
While cystic fibrosis is a genetic condition that may not be preventable without prior genetic counseling for both parents, there are some ways that medical malpractice may play a role in this diagnosis.
A missed diagnosis or misdiagnosis of cystic fibrosis may cause your child to suffer preventable damage to their lungs or digestive system, suffer undue pain, and could be life-threatening. The sooner your child receives a correct diagnosis and begins treatment, the better.
If your doctor failed to make an accurate and timely diagnosis when most other doctors with similar training and experience would have, it could be because of medical negligence.
In addition, if both parents or the fetus received a genetic screening prior to delivery that ruled out cystic fibrosis, and the child was born with this condition, it could indicate that negligence occurred by the providers responsible for the screening.
Damages in a Medical Malpractice Case
If you are able to prove that doctor negligence allowed your child to be born with cystic fibrosis, or allowed this condition to go untreated, a medical malpractice lawsuit may allow your family to recover:
- Medical bills related to your child’s condition, both current and future
- Lost wages for either parent who must stop working to care for the child
- Pain and suffering
- Other noneconomic damages
The Birth Injury Lawyers Group May Be Able to Help You
The Birth Injury Lawyers Group supports families in cystic fibrosis medical malpractice cases. When we work together on your case, our team can handle all communications, evidence gathering, and legal work on our behalf. We can represent you in both an insurance claim and a medical malpractice lawsuit.
To get help today, contact the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at (800) 222-9529. A member of our team is standing by for your free case review. We represent our clients on a contingency-fee basis with no payments due in advance.