The miracle of childbirth should be a moment of pure joy, the start of a beautiful journey filled with laughter and milestones. Sometimes, however, a devastating diagnosis of spina bifida can tragically overshadow this miracle. This congenital disability, often preventable with proper medical care, can drastically alter the course of a child's life and leave families struggling with overwhelming challenges. 

Knowing that medical negligence caused your child's lifelong condition is challenging. You deserve to recover compensation for your financial and emotional losses and help get you and your family on a positive path forward. Learn more about spina bifida and how a New Jersey spina bifida attorney can help you recover compensation if your doctor was negligent. 

What is Spina Bifida and How Is It Detected? 

Spina bifida is a congenital disability that occurs when the spinal canal doesn't close completely during fetal development. This incomplete closure can expose the spinal cord and nerves, leading to various physical and neurological challenges. There are three main types of spina bifida:

  • Spina bifida occulta. This mild form of spina bifida is consistent with a small gap in the vertebrae but no exposed spinal cord or nerves. Often, there are no symptoms, although there may be a dimple or hairy patch of skin on the back.
  • Meningocele. In this type of spina bifida, the meninges, the protective membranes around the spinal cord, push through the opening in the spine, forming a sac. While the spinal cord itself isn't exposed, nerve damage can still occur, leading to weakness, bowel and bladder problems, and learning difficulties.
  • Myelomeningocele. The most severe form of spina bifida occurs when the spinal cord and meninges protrude through the opening in the spine, causing paralysis, nerve damage, and a variety of other complications, including fluid buildup in the brain (hydrocephalus), learning disabilities, and problems with mobility and bowel/bladder control.

Fortunately, spina bifida is detectable during pregnancy. Prenatal screening typically involves a combination of the following:

  • Maternal serum alpha-fetoprotein (MSAFP) test. MSAFP is a blood test that measures AFP levels in the mother's blood. High levels can indicate a neural tube defect like spina bifida.
  • Ultrasound. A detailed ultrasound can visualize the baby's spine and identify any openings or abnormalities.
  • Amniocentesis. This more invasive test involves a small amniotic fluid sample to check for genetic abnormalities directly.

Early diagnosis allows for intervention and planning to manage the condition after birth. If you're concerned about spina bifida or have a family history of neural tube defects, discussing prenatal screening options with your doctor is crucial. If you believe your doctor missed a diagnosis that could have prevented your child’s condition, speak to a New Jersey spina bifida lawyer today. 

What Can I Recover in Damages? 

Spina bifida requires specialized care, therapies, and equipment, all of which can create a significant financial burden. In New Jersey, medical negligence resulting in spina bifida for your child can lead to compensation for the physical, emotional, and financial burdens your family faces. Some of the economic damages  you might be able to recover include:

  • Medical expenses,
  • Lost wages, and
  • Loss of future earnings. 

Succeeding on a demand for economic damages requires proof through documentation, including invoices, bills, receipts, and pay stubs. New Jersey spina bifida attorneys may also use experts to analyze your lost earning capacity or estimate future medical costs based on the severity of your child's condition. You may be struggling to work to care for your child. This decrease in income with increased medical costs creates an undeniable strain on a family during what should be a joyous time. 

Additionally, noneconomic damages may be available to compensate you for the intangible hardships your family endures, including: 

  • Pain and suffering, 
  • Emotional distress, 
  • Loss of enjoying of life and
  • Permanent injury or disability.

Your attorney uses objective evidence like documentation as well as the testimony of family and friends describing the impact that your child's condition has had on your life. 

New Jersey is one of the few states with no cap on compensatory damages in medical malpractice cases. It's essential to consult with experienced New Jersey spina bifida lawyers to understand your specific case and potential compensation. While nothing can undo the past, a New Jersey spina bifida attorney can help you secure the resources to build a brighter future for your family.

Contact Us 

At O'Connor, Parsons, Lane & Noble, LLC, we run a practice of winning verdicts. We know that if you or a loved one has been seriously hurt, choosing an attorney is one of the most important decisions you will make in your life. Our attorneys take pride in the hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements and verdicts we have secured for our clients. Our peers and adversaries refer their loved ones to us, and our awards and results speak for themselves. We are always a phone call away, whether you need an update on your case or some words of encouragement. We are willing to fight the tough fight for our clients for the best possible outcome. Our experienced team of attorneys handles a wide variety of cases. We represent victims of negligence and malice because we believe everyone should have a voice. 

Contact us today by phone or email for a free consultation and learn how our legal team can assist you.

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