Can I Recover Damages for Spina Bifida?

Birth Injuries | June 8, 2021

If your child has developed spinal bifida, you may be wondering whether or not you can recover compensation as a result of this birth defect. Obstetricians and doctors have a responsibility to examine an unborn fetus for common birth complications. If these medical professionals fail to diagnose a child with a condition prior to and delivery, serious complications can occur during the delivery process.

Can I Recover Damages for Spina Bifida?

What is Spina Bifida?

Spina bifida is a birth defect that affects a child’s spine. In general, this is a congenital disability that occurs when an unborn infant’s neural tube fails to develop or close properly. The neural tube is an embryonic structure that develops early on and eventually becomes the brain and spinal cord. In normal circumstances, the neural tube closes after about one month into pregnancy.
However, if a portion of the neural tube suffers from a defect, the child will inevitably develop issues related to the spinal cord and the bones in their spine.

When a child is born with spina bifida, they can experience symptoms that affect their daily life. In general, we will see that these daily complications will revolve around the type of defect that a child develops.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we can see that approximately one out of every 2,758 births results in a child born with spina bifida. Hispanic women have the highest rate of having a child affected by spina bifida. The CDC says that the average lifetime cost of caring for a person with spina bifida is approximately $791,000, which includes the cost of having a caregiver.

To further break down these costs, we can turn to a study highlighted by the CDC that says that the hospital costs for a baby born with spina bifida reach approximately $21,000 for the first year of life, but these costs can also reach more than $1 million. The data indicates that around 18% of babies with spina bifida had three hospital stays during their first year of life.

Can You Recover Compensation for Spina Bifida?

Doctors and obstetricians are generally easily able to diagnose spina bifida when a child is still in the womb through the use of ultrasounds, amniocentesis procedures, AFP screenings, and more. Radiologists can examine a fetus for spina bifida by looking for certain symptoms, including clubfeet or dilated ventricles.

It is the responsibility of medical professionals to test for and attempt to diagnose spina bifida and other possible birth defects prior to delivery. If they fail to do so, this could result in unnecessary complications during the labor and delivery process. It is important for the medical team to adequately prepare for a spina bifida delivery. If they do not do so because they were not aware of the spina bifida, this could result in even more complications that injure a child or even result in a fatality.

If medical professionals failed to properly diagnose spina bifida in your child, you may be entitled to various types of compensation. It is crucial to speak to a skilled birth injury attorney as soon as possible so you can determine the best steps forward for your particular case.