No matter what the cause, birth injuries are difficult to make sense of and manage as a family. A recent medical malpractice case highlights birth injuries caused by failure to diagnose – one of the most unsettling reasons for birth injuries to occur. As patients, we rely on healthcare providers to recognize, diagnose, and treat conditions or illnesses. When a healthcare provider fails to do so, the results can be devastating, as our example case will show.
Medical Malpractice Case Information
In December 2016, a Clark County jury awarded $14.5 million to a family who has been fighting for justice for eight long years. The case began eight years ago when their little girl was born prematurely in a Las Vegas hospital. While admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) for 11 weeks, the little girl became anemic and her body was not producing healthy levels of red blood cells.
At no time during the 11 weeks were her parents informed of these conditions, or the fact that she had a genetic blood disorder. No diagnosis or treatment was provided, and the result was the little girl suffering debilitating brain injuries. Her injuries were so severe that she is mostly blind and cannot walk or speak on her own. Further, she can only be fed through a tube leading directly into her stomach. She receives blood transfusions once every three weeks, and is on a waiting list for a bone marrow transplant.
In response to the negligent care of their child, her parents filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the pediatrician and another doctor. The family settled with the hospital out of court. The pediatrician named in the case was also facing criminal charges for fraud, but passed away while awaiting sentencing in a federal court. Because of his death, the family will only be able to collect an award of about $5.8 million from the other doctor.
Still, the family remains positive about how this award will help their little girl moving forward. They plan to use the money to continue her medical care, modify their home to meet her needs, and hire a caregiver to help ensure she has the care she needs to live a full, happy life.
If you believe that your child was injured due to a failure to diagnose and want to learn more about your legal rights, contact Birth Injury Guide today to discuss your case.
Failure to Diagnose During Pregnancy, Labor, and Delivery
There is, perhaps, no greater time that proper diagnosis and treatment is crucial than during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. During this time, mother and child are susceptible to a variety of complications and illnesses, and healthcare providers are tasked with providing competent, proactive care to ensure health and wellbeing.
Negligent care of the smallest, most vulnerable patients is never acceptable. Unfortunately, it is a problem that occurs far too often in American hospitals. There are several reasons why failure to diagnose injuries occur, with the most common reasons being:
- Failure to order a complete record of maternal medical history during pregnancy
- Failure to order necessary tests and screenings
- Failure to diagnose maternal infections or gestational diabetes
- Failure to recognize and diagnose breech position
- Failure to properly monitor the mother and child or recognize fetal distress
- Failure to diagnose and treat health issues in the infant, including jaundice, blood disorders, brain damage, fractures, or internal conditions
- Failure to recognize, diagnose, and treat preeclampsia, eclampsia, or HELLP syndrome in the mother
Dangers of Failure to Diagnose Injuries
As the example case discussed above illustrates, failure to diagnose injuries can be significant and devastating. Depending on the nature and severity of the injuries sustained, you and your child could suffer a wide range of effects due to failure to diagnose injuries. Some of the most common adverse effects associated with failure to diagnose are:
- Surgeries or procedures that may otherwise have been preventable
- Permanent physical injuries or deformities
- Developmental delays
- Brain damage
- Nerve damage
- Reduced blood flow
- Brachial plexus injuries
These dangers are only a few of the most common that can adversely affect you and your child if your healthcare provider fails to diagnose or treat a condition or illness. There are numerous ways that failure to diagnose injuries can affect your family.
Moving Forward and Getting Help
As parents, we want our children to be happy, healthy, and have every advantage in life. We never expect those charged with caring for them to be the very ones causing them harm. The reality is that medical malpractice and birth injuries are very real concerns. Sometimes healthcare providers make mistakes that are genuinely accidents, but in many cases, it is negligence that results in a failure to diagnose or treat a patient.
If you or your child have been injured due to a failure to diagnose or treat a condition during pregnancy, labor, or delivery (or shortly thereafter), you may find it helpful to contact a birth injury attorney to learn more about your rights as a patient. Contact Birth Injury Guide to speak with one of our experienced medical malpractice and birth injury attorneys. We can help you explore your rights and options, and if you have a case, we will work with you throughout the litigation process. Fill out our online form to get the help you need.