When parents are told that their precious child has a genetic disorder called Thalassemia, the news is overwhelming. When they realize that their obstetrician failed to advise them to have genetic counseling before conception, and/or failed to diagnose the problem prenatally — which would have given them the option of terminating the pregnancy — they feel betrayed and angry. If you are undergoing this trauma, you need more responsible medical care than you have been receiving. You also need the services of a premium medical malpractice team with a track record of successful lawsuits and settlements. Now is the time to reach out to Nagel Rice LLP.
From our offices in Manhattan and Roseland, New Jersey, our experienced team is ready to provide you with the very best in legal representation. During more than 30 years in practice, we have won hundreds of millions of dollars for our medical malpractice clients. These awards have helped parents like you restabilize their families, provide the very best care for their special needs child, and receive the financial resources they will need going forward.
What is Thalassemia?
Thalassemia is a hereditary blood disorder in which the body’s production of hemoglobin is abnormal. Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to all parts of the body. Patients with thalassemia either have defective hemoglobin of an inadequate supply. Either way, this results in the destruction of large numbers of red blood cells since the red blood cells survive for a shorter time. This leads to anemia and its accompanying fatigue. In its mildest forms, thalassemia may be controlled by following a healthy lifestyle, but when the condition is severe it requires regular blood transfusions and negatively impacts health, well-being, and quality of life.
Types of Thalassemia Thalassemia may be classified as “alpha” or “beta”, depending on which kind of hemoglobin is missing from the red blood cells. Beyond this distinction, a patient may have major, intermedia, or minor thalassemia. Making all of this even more confusing, the same disorder may be known by more than one name, for example, Cooley anemia is another name for beta-thalassemia major.
Symptoms of Thalassemia
The symptoms of thalassemia vary with the type and severity of the disorder and may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Pale or yellowish skin
- Deformities of facial bones
- Slow growth
- Abdominal swelling
- Dark urine
In its most severe forms, thalassemia can lead to organ damage or failure and eventual death.
Possible Complications of Thalassemia
As if the myriad symptoms of thalassemia weren’t enough, patients with this disorder may develop one or more of the following complications:
- Facial bone deformities, especially in the face and skull
- Bone fractures due to thin, brittle bones
- Enlarged spleen, which may necessitate removal of the organ
- Delayed puberty due to slow growth
- Heart problems, such as congestive heart failure and arrhythmia
- Excess iron in the blood which may damage the heart, liver, and endocrine system
- Increased risk of infection, especially if the spleen has been removed
How Is It Inherited
Individuals with only one affected hemoglobin gene, meaning they have inherited the chromosome damage from only one parent, typically don’t show any symptoms of thalassemia. Nonetheless, these people may pass the disorder on to their offspring. This is why genetic testing should be done on anyone who has an increased risk of carrying the affected gene. Being a carrier of thalassemia in this way is known is having the “trait” of the disorder.
Some couples trying to conceive know that one or both of them have thalassemia or carry the trait. There may be a case of the disorder in one or both family histories. On the other hand, others may have only mild anemia and not be aware that their low red blood cell count is the result of a genetic disorder.
Those with Mediterranean heritage, or whose family background is Southeast Asian, African, or Middle Eastern, are at higher risk for thalassemia, so if your heritage fits into one of these categories, you should seek genetic counseling before becoming pregnant and/or prenatal screening once you know you are expecting a child.
How is medical negligence defined?
While everyone has a certain duty of care to fellow human beings, certain people, like doctors, are held to a higher standard of care when it comes to their patients. The law requires that your obstetrician exercise the level of care a reasonably skilled doctor or another medical professional would provide under the same circumstances. If your obstetrician failed to question you and your partner about your ethnic and genetic heritage, and/or failed to recommend prenatal screening or testing, Nagel Rice may be able to sue that physician for wrongful birth.
How Nagel Rice Wrongful Birth Attorneys Can Help Your Family
If you now have a baby or child with thalassemia, you are dealing with many challenges — the difficulties your child will face in terms of pain, physical limitations and emotional distress, the wear and tear on the whole family, and the worry about whether you will have the financial resources necessary to cope with this complex situation.
Why not let Nagel Rice take over all legal and insurance aspects of your case? We will use our well-developed tactical skills to fight fiercely to get you the damages you deserve. We will seek substantial damages to cover your medical costs, lost income, and all expenses related to raising a child with major disabilities as well as compensation for your child’s pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life. Contact us promptly for a free consultation. We will charge you no attorneys’ fees until we win your case.