Legally Coping with Down Syndrome Malpractice in Chicago
Down syndrome is a genetic condition caused by the abnormal division of cells resulting in extra material from chromosome 21. This disorder varies greatly in severity, with severe cases causing health problems as well as developmental and intellectual delays. In other cases, the child with Down syndrome may be very healthy with milder problems. Some children may suffer major birth defects while others do not.
Most mothers are urged to have their fetus screened for Down syndrome. Unfortunately, there are many cases in which a child is born with this condition, even after screening – a case of misdiagnosis, which could ultimately lead to a successful lawsuit against the medical professionals involved.
Although Down syndrome is genetic in nature, doctors still have a certain responsibility to the parents to identify the disorder in a timely manner. Parents have a right to know about all potential birth defects and when a doctor fails to properly diagnose or a diagnosis is delayed, the family may have a right to file a birth defect lawsuit to seek justice and to hold these doctors responsible. Contact Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC at (312) 644-0444 for a free consultation.
Common Down Syndrome Health Problems
Health problems associated with Down syndrome children, some more common than others, include:
- Ear infections
- Thyroid disease
- Hearing loss
- Hirschsprung disease
- Sleep apnea
- Leukemia in early childhood or infancy
- Eye disease such as cataracts
- Hip dislocation
- Congenital heart defects
- Intestinal blockages at birth
Common Down Syndrome Physical Features
Although most children with Down syndrome have similar facial features and an IQ in the mild to moderately low range, each child is unique, with his or her own particular abilities. Some physical features that are common for Down syndrome children include:
- Shorter height both as children and adults
- Flattened face, particularly the bridge of nose
- Smaller ears
- Poor muscle tone
- Shorter neck
- Hands that are short and broad with a single crease in palm (palmar crease)
- Eyes that are almond shaped with upward slant
- Protruding tongue
- Tiny white spots on the iris, referred to as Brushfield spots
- Smaller feet and hands
- Excessive flexibility
Risk Factors and Screening Tests
Some mothers have a greater-than-normal risk for having a baby with Down syndrome. All parents should be offered screening tests, which can include:
- Blood tests
- Ultrasound or NT ultrasound (measurement of nuchal translucency to measure fluid at the back of the neck)
- DNA testing (to identify Down syndrome from genetic material such as amniotic fluid or umbilical cord blood)
After a positive screening, other tests such as amniocentesis, percutaneous umbilical blood sampling, or chorionic villus sampling may be performed to confirm the diagnosis.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits for Down Syndrome
Parents are entitled to know whether their unborn child is at a greater risk for a genetic disorder. This applies equally to all types of birth defects. When a prenatal misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose occurs, the parents are deprived of their right to make important choices. Some medical mistakes include:
- Improperly performed ultrasounds
- Ultrasounds improperly interpreted by radiologist
- Failing to complete a thorough genetic history screening of parents
- Incorrectly dating the pregnancy
- Incorrectly interpreting prenatal screening results from obstetrician
- Providing incorrect information to prenatal testing laboratory
- Failing to perform or recommend genetic counseling
- Failing to recommend, suggest, or discuss the availability of testing
This sort of medical negligence may serve as the basis for a malpractice case which is known as a wrongful life or wrongful birth case (which is allowed in some states and not others). Such cases are based upon the concept that the parent’s choice about whether to terminate or continue the pregnancy is incredibly personal, emotional, and important; that when a doctor’s negligence deprives them of this choice, a lawsuit may be appropriate under some circumstances.
Contact Chicago Down Syndrome Lawyers for Help
If you believe that your medical professionals have committed a prenatal misdiagnosis, call Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC today. There is never a fee to discuss your situation. Our compassionate and experienced Chicago medical malpractice attorneys have been helping Chicago families since 1990 and have collected millions of dollars for our clients. Our toll free 24-hour number is (800) 996-4824.