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Chicago Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome Lawyer

Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) Claim

In this congenital birth defect, the left side of a baby's heart is significantly underdeveloped and unable to properly pump oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. As a result, the heart's right side must work harder to pump the blood to the baby's lungs and throughout the rest of the body. Hypoplastic left heart syndrome may result in a number of abnormalities to the left side of the heart, including:

  • Very small or unformed mitral valves
  • Undersized or underdeveloped left ventricle
  • Very small or unformed aortic valve
  • Undersized or underdeveloped ascending portion of aorta
  • Babies with HLHS will often also have an atrial septal defect as well
Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome

In order to bypass the poorly-functioning left heart and increase blood flow throughout the body, a series of surgeries are usually undertaken, including:

  • The Norwood Procedure: Usually performed during the first two weeks of life, the surgeon creates and connects a new aorta to the right ventricle, as well as a tube to the pulmonary arteries.
  • The Bidirectional Glenn Shunt Procedure: Usually performed between four and six months of age, the surgeon directly connects the pulmonary artery and the superior vena cava.
  • The Fontan Procedure: Usually performed between eighteen months and three years old, the surgeon connects the pulmonary artery and inferior vena cava to the heart.

Medical Malpractice Claims for Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome

This type of congenital heart defect is a rare condition which occurs for largely unknown reasons. But in certain circumstances, a doctor or surgeon’s actions (or failures to act) may actually contribute to the existence of this abnormality or complicate its proper treatment. Some examples include:

  • A doctor may fail to properly assess the risk factors that might lead to a child with this syndrome. Certain drugs taken during pregnancy, including SSRI antidepressant medications, have been linked to congenital heart defects. In addition, if a sibling was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, the risk of having another child with this abnormality is increased. The mother is entitled to know when these types of enhanced risk factors are present, so that she can make informed decisions about her pregnancy. When confronted with clear evidence of a serious and possibly fatal heart abnormality, some women may wish to terminate their pregnancy. Depriving the mother of this choice may give rise to what is known as a "wrongful birth" or "wrongful life" lawsuit.
  • A doctor may fail to properly perform ultrasounds, or fail to order follow-up ultrasounds or other diagnostic testing. For congenital heart defects such as these, early detection is of the greatest importance. Plans and choices must be made ahead of time in consultation with other expert physicians. If the mother or doctor is unaware or unprepared for the birth of a child with a serious congenital defect, the chances for survival and a clear treatment plan will decrease. Previous medical malpractice lawsuits have specifically alleged injury based upon a failure of medical personnel to 1) properly consult with other medical experts such as pediatric surgeons and cardiologists during the pregnancy and 2) prepare for the child’s arrival and arrange for immediate evaluation by other medical specialists.

Contact the Chicago Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome Lawyers at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC Today

There are numerous situations in which the actions (or inaction) of a medical professional may lead to injury, or to the pain and suffering of others - certainly, more than can be discussed here. But if you believe that a congenital birth defect is the result of doctor or hospital malpractice, contact a Chicago medical malpractice attorney at Mitchell S. Sexner & Associates LLC for free information. There is no charge to speak to an experienced lawyer. Millions have already been collected for our other client families to help them with their day to day costs of living. Call us now at (800) 996-4824.

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