Birth Defect Lawyers in Chicago
We trust that medical professionals will properly treat our conditions and respond appropriately to medical emergencies. But doctors and other medical providers are human after all, so serious mistakes do sometimes occur. When most people think of such medical mistakes, they often think of surgical and treatment errors. Although it’s true that most medical malpractice does fall within these categories, medical mistakes may happen in many different ways, including those that occur before birth and during pregnancy. An experienced malpractice attorney can investigate whether a birth defect or injury is actually the result of a medical error.
Medical malpractice relating to birth defects may take any number of forms. The mother may have negligently been prescribed a specific medication during pregnancy, unaware that it might harm her baby. A doctor may have failed to perform an ultrasound or other diagnostic test properly. Whenever a physician, specialist, anesthesiologist, or other medical professional fails to act in what is considered to be the "accepted medical standard of care" and harm results, a medical malpractice lawsuit or claim may be the best course of action.
Why You Should File a Birth Defect Claim
The existence of a birth defect is a heartbreaking event for all involved. But in addition to the emotional toll, the treatment of most birth defects involves a lifetime of care and sometimes many surgeries as well. Yet receiving excellent medical assistance is never free and may cost many millions of dollars over the life of the child. Who should bear these costs involved? Should it be the family, or the medical professionals whose negligence may have contributed to the birth defect?
The answer is obvious. If it can be established that a doctor or hospital was in some way legally responsible, this financial weight should not be the family’s burden. To determine if the medical providers can be held accountable, an investigation needs to be untaken by a knowledgeable birth defect malpractice lawyer. Experienced attorneys, such as those at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC, will generally offer this service for free and carefully examine the available birth records to make a determination. Then, if a lawsuit seems like the right choice, no fees will ever be charged to the family unless we are successful in recovering financial compensation.
How Do Birth Defect Claims Work in Illinois?
Illinois has statutes of limitation (time limits) that applies to birth defect cases. If you’re filing a case of medical malpractice for a birth defect, it has to be filed within a certain period of time from when the injury occurred or from the date that the injury was discovered, if the diagnosis wasn’t made right away. If you’re filing a birth injury claim, you have a longer statute of limitation period, but any lawsuits must still be filed before the child attains a certain age. A wrongful death case must generally be filed within two years from the date of death.
So time is a very important factor when filing such a case. Once a medical diagnosis has been made, you should contact an experienced lawyer immediately, as a proper investigation by the lawyer will take some to time to complete properly. To file a birth defect injury case, your lawyer will need to establish:
- That the baby or mother were being medically treated or under a "duty of care" of the defendant(s).
- That the defendant(s) breached the standard duty of care or made a mistake while the baby or mother were under their care.
- That the breach of duty of care caused, contributed, or made worse the birth defect.
Because of the great amount of detail and technical knowledge required in a birth defect claim, an experienced lawyer is almost always necessary for success. There are many different types of claims, ranging from wrongful pregnancy to birth injury to medical malpractice. Every state has different deadlines, rules, and variations on the laws governing such claims. But most of all, it takes time to investigate these serious matters, so quick action is vital.
Common Birth Defects
Ultimately, if your attorney can negotiate a monetary settlement or obtain a successful verdict on your family’s behalf, it can help provide a lifetime of care for your child. Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC has recovered many millions of dollars for our client families already. We urge you to contact us if your child has been diagnosed with any of the following:
- Anencephaly: This condition involves a baby with an underdeveloped brain and skull, and is usually fatal. In some cases, the mother may have been prescribed certain drugs, antidepressants or contraceptives and may not have been fully informed about the dangers while pregnant. If the condition is discovered during pregnancy, it is often too late to treat. Mothers must be made aware of the need to take folic acid, and what drugs to avoid. A failure to do so, and to properly monitor the mother, may be cause for a malpractice lawsuit.
- Heart Conditions: Several pharmaceutical medications, including Paxil, Zoloft, Wellbutrin, Prozac and Zofran, have been linked to heart conditions in infants. If you suspect a drug is responsible for your baby’s heart condition, you need to contact a lawyer to learn your options.
- Congenital Heart Defects: CHDs are the most commonly seen birth defects. These defects affect the flow of blood in the heart and, as a consequence, throughout the body. CHDs range in severity and can cause many lifelong problems. Surgery is usually needed to correct a CHD. During pregnancy, medical providers should perform an echocardiogram to identify heart defects before birth. If the test is not performed or the defect is misdiagnosed as a "heart murmur" by mistake, the medical providers may be found liable for medical malpractice.
- Cleft Palate and Cleft Lip: A baby born with a cleft palate or cleft lip will usually require surgery to repair the condition. This is another type of birth defect that may result from insufficient folic acid, mothers who took the fertility drug Clomid, or other influences.
- Craniosynostosis: This condition involves a misshapen skull, which can take various forms. The skull bones fuse together too early. Some cases of craniosynotosis are linked to the mother’s use of SSRI (Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitor) drugs, which are sometimes prescribed by doctors during pregnancy.
- Down syndrome: Most mothers are urged to have their fetus screened for Down syndrome. Unfortunately, there are many cases in which a child is born with this condition, even after screening - a case of misdiagnosis, which could ultimately lead to a successful lawsuit against the medical professionals involved.
- Encephalocele: This birth defect in which the brain and skull protrude can lead to long-term disabilities, and has been linked to the use of SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitors), a class of antidepressant drugs frequently prescribed to pregnant mothers.
- Gastroschisis: This is a congenital defect in which there is a hole in the abdomen, allowing organs to protrude from the body. Medical professionals can diagnose this condition while the fetus is small and undeveloped; if your child was born with this condition, it may be possible to file a lawsuit for a failure to diagnose.
- Hypospadias: This condition affects male infants, and is a defect in which the urethra does not exit the penis in the right location. The condition has been linked to mothers who have been prescribed certain anticonvulsant drugs that impact normal development.
- Limb Deficiencies: Several limb deficiencies have been linked to the use of the drug Zofran, a medication that may have been prescribed to mothers with severe cases of morning sickness. Other limb deficiencies may be the result of other drugs as well. If your child was born with a limb deficiency, speak to an experienced birth defect attorney.
- Microcephaly: The Zika virus is now known to pose the risk of a child being born with microcephaly - but this condition has also been linked to certain pharmaceutical products, specifically the SSRI class of antidepressants, which have frequently been prescribed to pregnant women.
- Microphthalmia and Anophthalmia: Babies born with either eye condition may have had early development affected by the mother’s use of NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).
- Microtia and Anotia: Ear defects have been linked to the prescription medication Zofran, which poses a risk when taken during the early months of pregnancy. The fertility drug Clomid and other drugs have also been linked to ear and other deformities.
- Omphalocele: Certain classes of antidepressant drugs are now linked to omphalocele - a condition in which the portions of a baby’s abdominal contents have grown in an umbilical cord sac outside the body during gestation.
- Spina Bifida: SSRI (Selective Serotonin Re-Uptake Inhibitor) medications prescribed and taken during pregnancy, such as Zoloft, Celexa, Prozac, or Lexapro, may have been the cause of these serious congenital injuries. Spina bifida is usually detectable by ultrasound and as such, a failure to perform proper diagnostic testing may be a basis for a lawsuit. As a parent, if your child had this condition during pregnancy, you should have been informed as such, so that you were in a position to make intelligent choices at the time.
If you suspect that your child’s birth defect was the result of medical negligence or the side effect of a particular drug, the best first step is a full legal evaluation of the case. At Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC we take our clients’ cases very seriously. We will review and evaluate your individual case at no cost to you, and then advise you of the steps that we suggest moving forward. Each case is unique; so we take all the time necessary to seek answers regarding exactly how and why your child was born with a serious birth defect.
Was your baby born with a birth defect? Connect with us for a free case evaluation. All such cases are taken on a contingency basis - which means that there are no legal fees unless we are successful in recovering compensation for your family. Millions have already been collected. Call (800) 996-4824.