Would Failure to Test Be Considered Negligence If My Baby Suffers Long-Term Damages?
As a parent, you may notice some of the things that your child does on a day-to-day basis that are consistent with their development. However, you may also recognize other actions (or inactions) that may be present that could indicate your child is not developing the way they should.
Unfortunately, this could mean that your child is experiencing the complications associated with a wide variety of birth injuries that may be caused by trauma during pregnancy or labor, or even by genetics. What do you do next?
This is a time you may want to consult with your doctor to determine if there were any problems that occurred during the pregnancy or while the doctor was delivering your baby. You have the right to request that your baby undergo specific testing that can help to identify a potential problem in your baby’s head.
What happens, though, if the doctor refuses to provide the necessary testing to determine if damage is present?
Testing that Can Be Done
While there are numerous birth injuries that may be diagnosed in the immediate aftermath following the delivery of the baby, some signs may take longer to manifest and you may not decide on specific testing until you have realized that your baby is missing significant milestones.
Luckily, there are several tests available to determine the presence of cerebral palsy, hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy, and more. These tests include the following:
- Apgar: This is the initial testing that is done immediately after birth to determine if a problem exists. Each letter stands for something different regarding the characteristics of the newborn with each receiving a score based on the health and vital signs. Apgar scores above 7 are considered normal, between 4 and 6 are below normal, and between 0 and 3 are critically low.
- A is for Appearance (color of the baby’s skin)
- P is for Pulse (rate of heartbeats)
- G is for Grimace (response and irritability)
- A is for Activity (how tone the baby’s muscles are)
- R is for Respiration (the baby’s ability to breathe)
- Brain Imaging: These tests are typically used to determine the amount of oxygen and blood flow to the brain to ensure everything is functioning properly. Both HIE and cerebral palsy can result from insufficient oxygen flow to the brain. If the doctor recognizes inconsistencies in how the brain is operating, it could be an indicator that the baby was without sufficient oxygen for an extended period of time.
- Umbilical Cord Gases: Not many people know about this, but testing the gases of the umbilical cord blood can determine if it was sufficiently oxygenated and whether the baby would have suffered significant damage to his or her brain as a result of a lack of oxygen.
These tests can prove to be vital in not only recognizing if a birth injury exists, but also in understanding if treatment options are available or what a baby can do to live their best life moving forward. Unfortunately, testing may not always be granted as it should.
Is a Failure to Test Considered Negligence?
When discussing matters of medical malpractice—or in this case birth injuries, a form of medical malpractice—one of the factors that can be present is a misdiagnosis or a missed diagnosis. This is when a doctor either chalks up symptoms to an incorrect condition or they fail to diagnose a condition completely due to incorrect testing or no testing at all.
When you request testing for your child because of a legitimate concern, you expect that your doctor will provide said testing to determine if something is wrong. If they refuse to do so, and refuse to identify a potential issue, they are essentially allowing the problem to go untreated and possibly worsen.
This can be considered a form of negligence and you as a parent have the right to take action should this situation occur. You want to know if something is wrong with your child, and the doctor may be trying to protect an original error on their part.
What You Can Do Moving Forward?
Proving a birth injury without testing can be a difficult task, so you want to ensure you’re taking every avenue possible to find out what could be wrong with your child. This may mean getting a second opinion from another doctor who will in fact perform the testing on your child to identify a birth injury.
If they do the testing and it comes back that your child suffered a birth injury, it’s important to pursue the potential cause and determine if the doctor who cared for you during pregnancy or in the delivery was negligent when doing so.
This can help you to take legal action against the doctor for not only causing harm to your child, but for also failing to properly test for a problem when you requested it. You may be able to hold the doctor accountable and seek damages for any pain and suffering you and your family have experienced as a result of these actions.
Taking the Necessary Legal Action
Our Chicago birth injury attorneys understand how difficult this situation can be for you and the various steps you must take to hold the negligent doctor accountable for his or her actions. This includes proving how they failed to take action when requested.
No doctor should be allowed to get away with any action that results in the initial or continued pain for a child and our firm is here to hold them accountable when you need it most. You may be able to seek damages for additional medical costs resulting from the injury and subsequent testing, as well as future needs for your child.
At Beam Legal Team, it is our ultimate goal to provide the representation our clients need to get through such a difficult time and move toward the favorable outcome you need. We can’t erase the pain that your child endured, but we can work to hold negligent parties accountable and pursue the compensation that can help make the future with a birth injury easier on you and your child.
If you recognize a possible birth injury—your child missing milestones or presenting potential issues—request more testing. If the doctor doesn’t want to provide you with the testing, request a second opinion. Don’t stop fighting until you have answers, and we won’t stop fighting until you have justice.
Our team is ready to represent you in complex matters. If you need legal representation following a birth injury, call our firm at (866) 766-3806 and speak with our legal team about what rights you may have to take action against the negligent party. We’re here to help you when you need it most.