New Jersey Tay-Sachs Disease Lawyer

baby with tay sachs disease holding a person's hand

It is always disappointing and challenging for a couple to produce a child with a birth defect or disease condition. When a baby is born with Tay-Sachs disease, an incurable condition that will cause catastrophic suffering and early death, it is a tragedy. Modern science is capable of predicting a great many types of terrible diseases in two ways: [1] through genetic testing to predict the likelihood that a particular couple is likely to produce an affected infant and [2] through prenatal testing very early in the pregnancy when abortion is still an option. Unfortunately, there continue to be cases in which obstetricians fail to take a genetic history, prescribe appropriate testing, or advise at-risk parents of their options. If you and your child are living with the misery of a Tay-Sachs diagnosis, you may well be able to win a lawsuit for wrongful birth.

To find out whether you can bring a successful wrongful birth lawsuit against the doctor who failed your family in such a terrible way, you should contact Nagel Rice LLP, an excellent medical malpractice law firm well-known for our talented and compassionate attorneys. We have in-depth knowledge of all laws pertaining to wrongful birth cases and a strong history of success in winning them. As a matter of fact, we have obtained $3.1 million in a Tay-Sachs case.

We know all too well that financial damages, no matter how substantial, will never compensate you or your child for the misery you are undergoing. We do, however, hope to bring you a sense of justice and to give you the ability to overcome the economic strain placed on your family by a negligent medical professional.

What is Tay-Sachs disease?

Tay-Sachs disease is a fatal genetic disorder with symptoms so awful they sound contrived.

Babies born with Tay-Sachs typically begin to show symptoms at 3 to 6 months and, on average, these children will only live to age four. There is a form of Tay-Sachs known as late-onset Tay-Sachs ( or LOTS), in which early symptoms, like clumsiness or mood changes, may be minor, so in some cases, the disease is not diagnosed until the child is 10 years of age or older.

Symptoms of Tay-Sachs Disease

Symptoms of Tay Sachs disease include:

  • Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Cherry-red spots in the eyes
  • Inability to swallow
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Paralysis
  • Possible seizures and dementia
  • Death at a very young age

The Cause of Tay-Sachs Disease

The basic cause of Tay-Sachs disease is the absence of a vital enzyme called hexosaminidase-A (Hex-A) that assists in breaking down fatty substances known as gangliosides. As a result, these fatty substances build up until they reach a toxic level, interfering with the function of brain cells and eventually destroying them.

Risk Factors

As is true with many genetic disorders, Tay-Sachs cases are usually confined to particular populations in which intermarriage has been common. Tay-Sachs is most prevalent in people of Ashkenazi Jewish descent but has also surfaced in certain French Canadian communities in Quebec, Old Order Amish in Pennsylvania and in the Cajun community of Louisiana.

Though Tay-Sachs is rare — approximated to affect about 20,000 births in the United States annually — over the years more and more steps have been taken to prevent infants with the genetic disorder from being conceived or born. Couples in high-risk groups should be genetically screened early on to see if they have the genetic marker for Tay-Sachs since the disease is passed on from parents to their children and only occurs if both parents have the gene. If your family history contains any cases of Tay-Sachs disease, you are at even greater risk of having a baby with the damaged genetic makeup.

How Nagel Rice Will Obtain Compensation for You

If your doctor has been remiss in taking a medical history and/or sending you for genetic counseling and prescreening, she/he may be responsible for the wrongful birth of your Tay Sachs baby. At Nagel Rice, we are committed to holding the responsible party accountable for wrongful birth and will never charge you any attorneys’ fees until we have won your case.

After a free initial consultation, our attorneys will examine all medical data carefully and confer with medical experts in related fields to validate your claims. If we determine that you have a viable case, we will fight for you vigorously in a lawsuit against the responsible party. We are fully prepared to win you the damages you deserve for all of your medical costs, your child’s pain and suffering, the emotional trauma of the entire experience, and income you have lost in order to tend to your child.

Genetic Counseling and Prenatal Screening Is Key

As mentioned, there are several ways in which parents can be saved from the dire circumstances of having a child with Tay-Sachs disease. If your obstetrician has failed to inform you about these processes, you have suffered the harm of medical malpractice.

For one thing, your doctor should have asked about your genetic background, both in terms of your ethnic heritage and your personal family history. Since it is possible to administer blood tests to individuals before they try to have a child, it can be predetermined whether one or both are carriers of the disease. This is known as carrier testing. In some cases, particularly in the Orthodox Jewish community, young people are tested before they even decide to date in order to reduce the risk. In other cases, when a couple is already a couple, having these tests may help them to decide not to have children, to adopt, or to use the sperm or egg of someone who is not a carrier to create their child.

Prenatal testing is performed after conception has already occurred when the fetus is in the 10th week of gestation, at which point the couple still has the option of aborting the pregnancy. Prenatal testing is done through chorionic villus sampling or amniocentesis. There is even a method in use to retrieve the mother’s eggs for in vitro fertilization and test the embryo before implantation. The trouble with this method is, for the vast majority of couples, it is prohibitively expensive.

Nagel Rice Will Guide You Through

Our highly experienced, highly successful birth injury attorneys are here to help you in any way we can. No parent should be put in the position of having a child whose life will be needlessly painful and who will die young, especially when the medical profession knows how to prevent this. Our practice is known to be cutting-edge in the field of wrongful birth. Contact us promptly so we can help you hold your physician liable for the terrible situation he/she has burdened you with.

Nagel Rice LLP helps their clients with their Tay-Sachs disease claims throughout New Jersey including Bergen County, Essex County, Middlesex County, Monmouth County, Morris County, Passaic County, and Sussex County.