When first developed as a diagnostic tool in 1956, ultrasound seemed like a miracle. Its use of high-frequency sound waves made it possible to create images of internal body structures, including developing fetuses. The wonder of seeing one’s child begin its life inside the womb, hearing its heartbeat, seeing its limbs and facial features form until it becomes a recognizable human being will probably always seem a magical insight into creation.
Nonetheless, when mistakes are made during ultrasound exams, the results can be devastating. When a perceived abnormality turns out to be nothing to worry about, it is, of course, a great relief to the parents. Even so, they may have gone through heart-wrenching weeks or even months or unnecessary anguish. When the ultrasound mistake results in a misdiagnosis that is never corrected, it can turn out to be catastrophic, resulting in the delivery of a fatally deformed infant or the abortion of a healthy fetus. In either case, such events are often examples of medical malpractice. Nagel Rice LLP, a superior team of medical malpractice attorneys with offices in Roseland, New Jersey and Manhattan, is well-equipped to evaluate your case and, if appropriate, to file a medical malpractice lawsuit on your behalf.
Why You Should Turn to Nagel Rice When You Don’t Know Where to Turn
When you experience this type of misery, you may be too heartbroken to think clearly, but it is important to consider filing a medical malpractice lawsuit, both to bring some sense of justice and closure and to compensate you for the anguish you and your family have suffered. In many cases, the damages you collect will provide financial assistance for the necessary ongoing healthcare needs of a child born with a genetic condition that should have been diagnosed prior to birth.
Reasons for Ultrasound Mistakes
Tragically, misdiagnoses and wrongful birth resulting from negligently performed ultrasounds are not as rare as you might think. Though the majority of ultrasounds are administered and interpreted correctly, far too many serious mistakes are made due to lack of experience, negligence or inattention on the part of the obstetrician. While the technology involved in the ultrasound process may seem fairly simple, the clarity of the image may be less clear than one would hope, and much of the interpretation of what is on the screen is in the eye of the beholder. Depending upon how much experience the physician has had in viewing ultrasound images, how rushed or fatigued or distracted he or she is, it is all too possible to mistake one body part for another or to misread the picture altogether.
Types of Ultrasound Mistakes
You have probably heard of cases where a twin was missed on an ultrasound or the gender of the fetus was misidentified by the doctor. Unfortunately, there are far more serious mistakes made, mistakes that result in wrongful birth or wrongful death. There have been occasions in which a fetus is mistakenly diagnosed with Down syndrome or some other abnormality and the parents make the agonizing decision to abort what turns out to be a normal fetus.
There have also been a number of cases in which the obstetrician has failed to pick up a major abnormality on the ultrasound screen, leaving the parents to deal with a life-altering condition, and sometimes with the agony of caring for an infant who will only survive for a very short time.
All of the following have been missed on ultrasounds by practicing physicians:
- Congenital limb defects, such as deformed feet, arms, hands and legs
- Brain defects, such as enlarged brains due to tumors or hydrocephalus
- Heart defects, including hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS)
- Spinal defects, including spina bifida
Such misdiagnoses rob the new parents of the critical choice they should have been able to make in keeping with their own feelings and beliefs. In the 21st century, when we should have many more options than our ancestors, medical mistakes like these put us back into a time of greater ignorance and pain than we should have to endure. In situations involving medical negligence, a medical malpractice lawsuit at least enables us to hold the responsible party accountable.
Nagel Rice Can Help You Through This Painful Time
If you have suffered the awful pain of having your child’s severe birth defect misdiagnosed on ultrasound, you have the legal right to sue your doctor for medical malpractice. Our highly qualified attorneys at Nagel Rice are as compassionate as they are competent. We have a strong track record of winning several multi-million dollar settlements and jury verdicts in cases involving ultrasound negligence, including a $4.2 million settlement in a wrongful birth action due to an ultrasound misread.
You are entitled to compensation not only for your mental anguish and the pain your newborn may have suffered, but for ongoing medical intervention and prolonged healthcare, special education and therapy, and loss of income during the time you have to tend to a child with special needs. In cases in which the medical negligence has been extreme, you may also be entitled to punitive damages.
Contact A Ultrasound Malpractice Lawyer
Let us help you through this painful time. We will take over all the legal matters to allow you the to grieve and readjust. When Nagel Rice handles your case of medical malpractice, not only is your initial consultation free, but you will owe us no attorney fees until we win damages for you. We know only too well how important it is for you to take legal action in order to begin the recovery process. The sooner you get in touch with us, the sooner you can begin healing from your ongoing ordeal. The caring attorneys at Nagel Rice LLP can be reached by telephone or by filling out a contact form on our website.