The diagnosis of spina bifida is made when there is incomplete development of a newborn’s brain, spinal cord, or the meninges. Each year in the United States, there are about 2,000 cases of spina bifida.

This congenital disability can range from severe to mild. Infants born with this disability will likely experience the long-lasting effects, such as problems with walking or other movements, trouble with bowel or bladder control, paralysis, and hydrocephalus. While there are treatments that might significantly improve the quality of life for these children, there is currently no cure.

If you suspect a medical professional is responsible for the suffering you and your newborn are enduring, a Michigan spina bifida could help you seek compensation. You should not have to endure the resulting financial strain, physical trauma, and emotional stress of these damages alone. By consulting a compassionate attorney at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C., you could better understand your legal rights and determine if a civil lawsuit is right for you.

Is Spina Bifida the Result of Malpractice?

While spina bifida can arise from any number of circumstances, doctors are responsible for warning pregnant women—or even women of child-bearing age—of the potential dangers of taking certain drugs during pregnancy. Sometimes, these dangers include the fetus developing spina bifida, also known as a neural tube defect. Examples of medications that may cause these neural tube defects include, but are not limited to:

  • Dilantin or phenytoin
  • Fluvoxamine
  • Lamotrigine
  • Lexapro or escitalopram
  • Zoloft or sertraline
  • Accutane or isotretinoin
  • Celexa or citalopram
  • Diflucan or fluconazole

Doctors also need to ensure that their pregnant patients are receiving enough folic acid, either in their diet or through a supplement. Performing certain diagnostic tests, like blood tests and ultrasounds, are also the responsibility of the mother’s doctor. If it is apparent during the pregnancy that the fetus has a neural tube defect, the mother can be counseled about her options and the expected course for the baby after birth. A detail-oriented Michigan spina bifida lawyer could investigate the duties of a medical professional in this context and determine if they neglected to provide the expected level of care.

Proving an Obstetrician is At Fault

As mentioned above, there are a variety of ways a doctor could be negligent when it comes to diagnosing and treating a newborn and their mother with spina bifida. It is essential that this negligence be shown in court in order for an injured claimant and their infant to recover damages. However, proving an obstetrician is at fault is a nuanced legal process.

No matter the circumstances, doctors owe a duty of care to their patients. By first establishing this duty, a well-versed Michigan lawyer might then be able to show that, through a careless action or inaction—such as by prescribing the mother a contraindicated drug or failing to perform diagnostic testing—the medical professional breached their duty of care and caused a patient to suffer.

Understanding An Affidavit of Merit

According to Michigan Compiled Laws § 600.2169, an attorney must file an affidavit of merit with a spina bifida case. To obtain this affidavit, the attorney needs to consult with a licensed professional who is practicing or teaching and also has the same certifications and specialty as the defendant. The medical professional must sign a document attesting to the following:

  • The existing medically applicable standard of care
  • That the defendant failed to uphold the standard of care
  • How the defendant could have avoided violating the standard of care
  • How the breach caused the plaintiff’s damages

Requiring an affidavit of merit assists the court system in keeping unsubstantiated lawsuits out of court. Because of this, having a spina bifida lawyer who has experience with collecting the appropriate documentation for a lawsuit in Michigan could prove to be vital.

How a Michigan Spina Bifida Attorney Might Help

If your child was born with spina bifida, a case review with a qualified Michigan Spina bifida lawyer might be in your best interest. Even when it seems as though a physician did everything right, they might have contributed to this condition through careless, reckless, or otherwise negligent behavior.

By hiring a committed attorney to help with your case, you could focus on spending time with your family. Call Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. today for a case consultation.

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