Michigan Spina Bifida Lawyer
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:
- Increased body temperature during pregnancy
- Medications such as antiseizure medicine that can interfere with folic acid
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.
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.
RESULTS-DRIVEN TRACK RECORD
Medical Malpractice / Birth Injury
A young couple from Monroe, Michigan, was awarded a $15.8 million verdict as the result of their baby son, Jason, being inflicted with Cerebral Palsy as the result of an error during the final stages of a labor.
Result: $15.8 Million
Medical Malpractice/Wrongful Death
Oakland County, Michigan
While in the hospital a mother of three was not properly treated for a closed-head injury causing her untimely death.
Result: $1 Million
Accidents & Injuries/Brain Injury
A Livonia pedestrian recovered $1.4 million when he was struck by a commercial van resulting in a traumatic brain injury in Redford, Michigan.
Result: $1.4 Million
Medical Malpractice / Misdiagnosis
Wayne County, Michigan
Patient suffered cardiac arrest and brain damage when a hospital failed to recognize internal bleeding and treatment was delayed for more than 14 hours.
Result: $9 Million
Accidents & Injuries/Auto Accident
Tuscola County, Michigan
A Tuscola County jury awarded $3.3 million to a severely brain injured motorist as the result of a defective Michigan highway.
Result: $3.3 Million
Accidents & Injuries/Construction Site Injury
A seventeen-year-old construction worker suffered a traumatic brain injury resulting from a fall in Flint, Michigan, and was awarded $1.25 million.
Result: $1.25 Million
Wayne County, Michigan
Middle-aged woman suffered severe disfiguring facial burns from a simple surgical procedure.
Result: $1.9 Million
Medical Malpractice / Birth Trauma
Child developed cerebral palsy with developmental delays due to lack of oxygen and brain injury during labor and delivery.
Result: $3.8 Million
Accidents & Injuries/Construction Site/Workplace Injury
A Westland construction worker recovered $1.5 million after sustaining a traumatic brain injury while on a construction site in Detroit, Michigan.
Result: $1.5 Million
Accidents & Injuries/Truck Accident
A Marlette, Michigan, family reached a $1.3 million settlement in the traffic death of their 5-year-old son when they were struck by a semi truck.
Result: $1.3 Million
Medical Malpractice/Cancer Misdiagnosis
The misdiagnosis of breast cancer resulted in a Redford, Michigan, woman recovering $225,000.
A construction worker redeemed his worker’s compensation case for $125,000 in Detroit, Michigan.
Accidents & Injuries/Auto Accident
A paraplegic woman from Monroe, Michigan, recovered Michigan no-fault benefits including the purchase of a new home and attendant care in excess of $400,000.
Medical Malpractice/Birth Injury
Brighton, Michigan; Detroit, Michigan
A Brighton family recovered $1.3 million and a Detroit family recovered $900,000 as the result of birth injuries and medical malpractice to their children.
Accidents & Injuries/Auto Accident
Bay City, Michigan
A Bay City grandmother was awarded $80,000 following an auto accident resulting in a broken leg.