California Spina Bifida Lawyer

Prenatal Misdiagnosis of Spina Bifida / Neural Tube Defects

According to the Spina Bifida Association®, spina bifida is the most common permanently disabling birth defect in the nation. About eight children are born with this birth defect every day. Spina bifida falls into a class of birth defects known as neural tube defects. This category comprises birth defects that involve partial (rather than complete) development of the brain or spinal cord.

With spina bifida, the fetus' spine fails to close as it should, resulting in a split spine. There are four types of spina bifida, all of which have distinct symptoms:

  • Occult Spinal Dysraphism (OSD)
  • Hidden Spina Bifida (Spina Bifida Occulta)
  • Meningocele
  • Spina Bifida Cystica (Meningomyelocele)

Spina Bifida Cystica is the most severe form of spina bifida.

There are certain tests that doctors can use to determine if a fetus has spina bifida before the child is born. If your child was born with a form of spina bifida and your doctor failed to diagnose this, then you may have a prenatal misdiagnosis claim.

Prenatal Screening Tests for Spina Bifida

There are three major types of prenatal screening tests doctors can and should use before birth to detect if the fetus is affected with spina bifida.

One of the first screening tests that doctors conduct is the AFP (alpha-fetoprotein) screening. This takes place when a fetus is 16 to 18 weeks. This simple blood test during early stages of gestation is designed to detect AFP levels. If they are too high, this could indicate that the fetus has spina bifida.

Another test that all mothers get is the ultrasound. Ultrasound technicians evaluate the fetus' overall anatomy and may be able to see fetal abnormalities. The further along the fetus is in its growth, the easier it is to detect any abnormalities.

A third common prenatal screening test is the amniotic fluid test or "amniocentesis." What this test entails is taking a sample of the amniotic fluid that surrounds the fetus and looking for elevated AFP levels. If your doctor conducted these tests but failed to detect spina bifida, or conducted these tests but still failed to detect spina bifida, you may be able to take legal action.

How do I know if I have a prenatal misdiagnosis claim?

Spina bifida misdiagnosis claims are extremely complex and require a thorough investigation by experts in the field as well as skilled attorneys. At Bostwick & Peterson, we have handled some of the largest birth injury cases in California history. What our attorneys can look for when building your case is:

  • Did the doctor thoroughly review both parents' medical history?
  • Did the doctor conduct all the necessary prenatal screening tests?
  • Did the doctor conduct all the screening tests properly?
  • Did the doctor analyze and interpret the evidence accurately?

Contact Bostwick & Peterson Today

Parents of children with spina bifida know that the emotional energy and financial resources necessary to raise a child with this condition. If your child was born with a type of spina bifida due to your doctor's prenatal screening error, you may have a birth injury claim. Contact an attorney at Bostwick & Peterson to learn more about prenatal misdiagnosis claims and legal action that parents can take.

Initial consultations are absolutely free of charge – (415) 275-3115.

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