Negligence in Prenatal Testing
As any family expecting a baby knows, caring for an infant begins long before the child is born. In fact, it starts at the moment you learn you are soon to be parents. Providing your baby with excellent and thorough medical care throughout your pregnancy is one of the most important ways to monitor the child’s health and even prevent potentially serious problems before any damage is done.
For these reasons, you and your family sought out a medical practice that is respected and well-known in your community for providing expectant parents with the highest standard of care. Under all circumstances, you expected that your doctor would provide the care and interventions you need in a complete and timely fashion, including when it came to prenatal testing. If you believe your medical practice has failed you in any area of prenatal care, it is vital that you learn all you can about this form of medical negligence.
What Should You Expect When Receiving Prenatal Testing?
When you become pregnant, it is crucial to recognize that you are going into the next nine months with the body and pre-existing health conditions you may or may not already know about. Additionally, being pregnant can cause issues of its own or exacerbate conditions that you already have. For these reasons, your doctor needs to competently perform a complete physical evaluation to determine if you are experiencing any of the following:
- Gestational diabetes.
- High bilirubin levels.
In addition, your physician should test your baby in utero for the following conditions that can lead to serious issues at and after birth:
- Down syndrome.
- Tay-Sacks disease.
- Spina bifida.
- Cystic fibrosis.
- Sickle cell disease.
Upon learning that their child will have one of these conditions, some parents may choose to terminate the pregnancy to prevent long-term suffering and pain. Those who elect to continue the pregnancy benefit by having this knowledge since they now have time to adjust to the situation and research resources and ways to provide their child with the richest life and the most opportunities possible. In other words, a medical practitioner’s failure to run the proper tests or to furnish families with all the relevant information can have profound effects.
When is a Testing Error Considered to be Medical Negligence?
Doctors are not omniscient; they are human beings who are as subject to making mistakes as anyone else. There is a difference between an honest mistake and provable negligence. In order for a medical professional to be held liable, you and your attorney must prove that your doctor’s actions or lack of action fell below the required, recognized standard of care for someone in their position.
One type of error that can frequently be proven to be negligent occurs when tests are not performed even though a woman has been diagnosed with specific risk factors. Examples include the following:
- The pregnant woman is over 35.
- The pregnant woman is clinically obese.
- She has had previous pregnancies in which she experienced birth defects, stillbirths or low or high birth weight.
- The pregnant woman has high blood pressure.
- There is a family history of diabetes, heart disease, Down syndrome or other birth defects.
If a patient has any of these issues or conditions, the doctor should perform all relevant tests. Failure to do so can mean that the physician may be found to be medically negligent.
Another way that a doctor can be found negligent is if they do not inform a patient of critical test results in a timely fashion or if they misread test results, leading to inaccurate provision of information.
Damages You May Receive Stemming from a Medical Malpractice or Negligence Lawsuit
If you can prove that any of these situations occurred, you can choose to file a medical malpractice claim. If the court decides in your favor, you may be awarded compensation for the following damages and more:
- Costs of medical treatment that could have been prevented had the negligence not occurred.
- Long-term expenses of caring for a child with a serious disability or birth defect.
- Wrongful death if your child did not survive.
- Pain and suffering of your child.
If Medical Negligence Has Affected Your Family
A doctor’s sub-standard actions or failure to implement crucial measures can have profound consequences for your entire family. Testing errors can leave you without the information you need to make the decision that is best for your baby and you. What’s more, they can leave you financially and emotionally devastated during a time of life that should be filled with happiness and wonder. In the worst-case scenario, you may even be forever deprived of your child’s presence in your lives.
During this incredibly difficult and emotional time, the idea of seeking financial damages for everything you have gone through may seem impossible and overwhelming. However, it is crucial that you take action as soon as possible after the prenatal testing negligence occurred to ensure that you can accurately gather every piece of evidence. Contacting an attorney who has demonstrated years of experience in this specialized field of medical negligence will also help to lighten your load since your legal team can do the prolonged, detailed work of gathering documents and building a case on your behalf.
If you believe that medical negligence negatively affected you, your unborn baby or your family, know that you are not alone. When you find a legal team with demonstrated experience in this special area, you may be compensated for the pain, suffering and financial loss you have endured.