Medical Malpractice – Live weblog
Archive for November, 2008
Tuesday, November 25th, 2008
You may have heard of “wrongful death,” but many people are not familiar with “wrongful birth.” Wrongful birth means the parent or parents sue other individuals for being burdened (financially and emotionally) with a disabled child. Wrongful birth lawsuits are genetic or prenatal medical malpractice lawsuit tort cases.
In many cases, birth defects and/or genetic diseases can be identified early in the mother’s pregnancy to allow the parents an opportunity to decide whether they want to allow the pregnancy to continue or whether they will have the pregnancy terminated through abortion. In some states, New Jersey included, if a birth defect or genetic disorder is not detected during pregnancy because of the medical professional’s negligence, then a wrongful birth claim can be made.
Genetic disorders and diseases
It is common practice in the United States that obstetricians offer prenatal screening tests to their patients regardless of the patient’s age or medical history to detect:
- Sickle cell disease (typically in African-Americans
- Cystic fibrosis
- Canavans disease (typically in Jewish parents)
- Tay-Sachs disease
Down syndrome can be detected by an ultrasound examination that measures the clear space at the back of the neck. This ultrasound in combination with a blood test from the mother can help the obstetrician determine if further testing is necessary.
Proving wrongful birth
In order to pursue and win a valid wrongful birth claim, the attorneys at Weiss & Paarz, P.C. must prove that the medical provider’s negligence prevented them from realizing there was an increased risk that the fetus would suffer a genetic disorder or disease or a birth defect. We must also establish that the parents would have terminated the pregnancy had they known about the defect or disorder during the pregnancy. These claims are referred to as “wrongful birth” claims because the child would not have been born if the obstetrician were not negligent.
In New Jersey, if a parent wins a wrongful birth suit, the negligence medical provider must provide monetary compensation related to the child’s condition over the child’s entire lifetime. Additionally, compensation must be provided for the emotional trauma (injury) and mental anguish suffered by the parents.
Monday, November 10th, 2008
Skin cancer is one of the most survivable forms of cancer if detected early. However, if as a result of medical malpractice it is not detected until later, it can metastasize, spreading throughout the body necessitating more invasive and painful treatment. Both you and your doctor have a part in detecting and diagnosing skin cancer.
Your part is to be aware of your body. You should be especially aware of:
- A new growth on the skin or a change to an existing mole
- Raised red bumps or red, scaly irritated patches of skin
- Bleeding moles or other growths that crust and do not heal
If you detect any of these changes, you should make your doctor aware of them, as well as any family history of skin or other cancers. Your doctor should look at the growth and recommend appropriate treatment.
Your doctor should be able to identify whether cancer is likely to be the cause. At the very least, appropriate tests, including a biopsy, should be performed. He or she should refer you to a dermatologist or oncologist as necessary. We trust our doctors to do this, and in most cases our trust is well-founded.
However, sometimes a doctor can ignore a dangerous growth. Sometimes the doctor imagines you are a hypochondriac, sometimes he or she is overworked, and sometimes he or she is either poorly trained or just lazy. Unfortunately, the consequences of this kind of negligence can lead to costly treatment and a serious degradation in the quality of your life, sometimes even to death.
If you are doing your part, there is no excuse for your doctor’s failure to diagnose skin cancer. If you have been hurt as a result of a doctor’s negligence, schedule a failure to diagnose consultation with the skilled New Jersey medical malpractice attorneys at Weiss & Paarz, P.C.