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Michigan Spina Bifida Lawyer

Mother And Newborn. Child Birth In Maternity Hospital. Young Mom

Spina bifida is a congenital condition that can cause lifelong mobility issues and other problems. In the United States, approximately 1 in 2,758 babies are born with spina bifida. This translates to about 1,427 babies each year.

The obstetrician should be able to identify and diagnose the condition as early as possible during your pregnancy. Besides recommending folic acid as soon as possible in the pregnancy, they must offer treatments such as surgery, cesarean birth delivery, and ongoing care for physical therapy.

Missing or misdiagnosing your baby’s spina bifida could mean your doctor missed the chance to treat the infant in utero or provide immediate care.

If you believe your doctor is responsible for missing or misdiagnosing your baby’s spina bifida, you may be eligible to file a medical malpractice suit and recover damages from a healthcare professional. Contact a birth injury lawyer at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. for a free consultation to better understand your legal rights.

What is Spina Bifida?

Spina bifida is a birth defect when the spine and spinal cord don’t form properly when the baby is in utero. During pregnancy, the baby’s neural tube should develop to become the brain, spinal cord, and tissues. However, if the neural tube does not form properly, it can cause issues in the spinal cord.

There are three types of spina bifida:

  • Spina Bifida Occulta: The most common and mildest type is spina bifida occulta, which causes a small gap in the spine’s bones. Many people never know they have this condition unless they undergo imaging testing.
  • Myelomeningocele: This spina bifida condition can cause the spinal cord and nerves to protrude through an opening in the back, forming a sac in the baby’s back. As a result, the baby is at risk of deadly infections, paralysis, and bowel dysfunction.
  • Meningocele: A spinal fluid sac bulges through a gap in the spine, but it doesn’t affect the nerves, and the spinal cord isn’t in the sac with this spina bifida condition. Babies with meningocele suffer minor bladder and bowel issues.

Why Your Doctor May Be Liable for Your Baby’s Spina Bifida

Although the exact cause of spina bifida is unknown, it is believed to be caused by a combination of environmental, nutritional, and genetic factors. Factors such as spina bifida in the family and folate or vitamin B-9 deficiency play a significant role in the development of spina bifida.

Studies show that women who take folic acid before and during pregnancy reduce their risk of having a child with spina bifida by as much as 70%.

Other risk factors include:

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Increased body temperature during pregnancy
  • Medications such as antiseizure medicine that can interfere with folic acid
  • absorption

Your doctor’s care reduces the chances of spina bifida in infants. At your initial visit, they must review your medical history and ask if your relatives have spina bifida to determine if your baby is at risk of developing the condition. If your doctor detects that your baby has spina bifida, they have to inform you and help you understand the prognosis and treatment options, including surgery.

If a doctor fails to warn you about the risks and precautions to be taken before delivering a baby with spina bifida, they may be liable for medical malpractice.

Proving the Doctor’s Negligence

A successful medical malpractice claim involving spina bifida must have these elements:

  • There was an injury at birth
  • Your doctor fell below the acceptable standard of care
  • Their negligence caused the injury

The standard of care is the care that a reasonably competent healthcare provider would provide under similar circumstances. To prove negligence, your lawyer must show that the doctor knew or should have known of the risks associated with spina bifida and failed to take steps to prevent them.

For example, if the obstetrician did not order amniocentesis or an MRI early in the pregnancy to detect spina bifida, this can be considered negligence.

At Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C., our nurse attorney, and senior partner Eileen Kroll can analyze medical records and understand the steps for diagnosing and treating spina bifida.

When necessary, Eileen can also refer to an experienced medical witness who can pinpoint where the doctor failed to provide proper care. The witness can testify on your behalf that your doctor didn’t provide a reasonable standard of care.

Obtaining an Affidavit of Merit

An affidavit of merit is a sworn statement where the medical witness validates that you have a legitimate medical malpractice claim. Michigan requires filing an Affidavit of Merit for any medical malpractice claim, including spina bifida cases.

The requirements set forth by an affidavit of merit include:

  • How should the standard of care or practice be applied
  • The medical witness’s opinion that the doctor breached the standard of care
  • Actions that should have taken place in compliance with the standard of care
  • The connection between the poor standard of care and the resulting injury

Your lawyer can acquire an affidavit of merit from the medical expert and file it alongside your medical malpractice lawsuit. We can also help you get the fair compensation you deserve to help with your child’s spina bifida condition.

Recovering Compensation for Spina Bifida

Spinal cord injuries and birth defects can limit the child’s mobility and constrain their ability to live a normal life. The lifelong expenses associated with spina bifida can add up to $1 million or more. Recovering adequate compensation can help your child live a better quality of life.

A personal injury attorney at our law firm can help you pursue all economic and non-economic damages that can affect your child. Economic damages include current and future medical expenses, loss of wages, and childcare costs. The doctor may be ordered to pay the expenses related to your child’s spina bifida condition if they are found liable.

Non-economic damages provide restitution for pain and suffering, disfigurement, and emotional anguish. However, Michigan law limits non-economic damages to $280,000 as of 2022. If your child’s spinal cord injury from the condition was severe, the law limits non-economic losses to $500,000.

Pregnant Asian Woman Embraces Her Stomach And Has Pain In Her St

Get a Free Spina Bifida Birth Injury Case Evaluation

If you have a child diagnosed with spina bifida, it is essential to file your claim before the statute of limitations expires. Contact the birth injury attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. We can help you take legal action to recover compensation for your child’s spina bifida injury.

Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 1-866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.


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