Pregnancy can be both exciting and stressful, not only for the mother but for both parents and other friends and family. During pregnancy, most doctors will order prenatal tests that let you and your doctor know about possible birth defects and genetic diseases, and the general health of both you and your growing baby.
Prenatal testing can be extremely helpful for expecting parents, such as when it detects defects that could harm the mother, offers information about whether the pregnancy is safe to continue, or allows parents to plan and consider their options based on the child’s health.
Unfortunately, misdiagnoses can be made, sometimes because of medical malpractice. Misinterpreting a test result or failing to diagnose a health issue with the mother or the child during pregnancy can lead to a missed opportunity for treatment, fewer options for parents, and costly, life-changing consequences down the road. Misdiagnosing a disease or condition, or treating one that is not there can also cause threatening and expensive complications for both the mother and the fetus.
How Does Prenatal Misdiagnosis Happen?
There are several tests that can be performed in each of the three trimesters. Some are simple blood tests for things like sexually transmitted infections and diseases, anemia, diabetes, or preeclampsia. It is also common to have ultrasounds taken to see the baby’s organs and check growth and development. Because some parents are at a higher risk for having a baby with a birth defect or a genetic problem, your doctor may recommend certain other prenatal screening tests to check the health of the parents and the likelihood of certain issues with the child, and there may be a need for other procedures such as triple or quadruple screening or even DNA testing.
Screening tests let parents and doctors know the likelihood of a child developing a disease, condition or disorder, but no test offers 100 percent certainty. Positive screening tests often necessitate further screening and may lead to additional and more invasive testing.
Misdiagnosis can occur at several points during these screening tests. Common mistakes that lead to prenatal misdiagnosis include:
- Failing to recommend or administer appropriate tests at appropriate times, especially following a positive result on prior screening test,
- Failing to complete a comprehensive genetic screening and health history of both parents,
- Incorrectly administering tests
- Misreading or incorrectly interpreting test results or ultrasounds
- Misplacing tests or overlooking certain tests or results,
- Misdating the pregnancy so that the age of the fetus is incorrect and testing is performed too late or too early,
- Other mistakes or negligent acts.
What Can You Do When Prenatal Misdiagnosis Occurs?
Unfortunately, prenatal misdiagnosis does happen in Michigan and elsewhere, and can lead to long-term health complications for mothers and newborns, unintended miscarriages, improper medical treatment, and other hardships.
Working with an attorney experienced with birth injuries and medical malpractice can help you pursue your right to compensation. While it will likely not make up for the pain, suffering, and ongoing health issues that you or your child may face, it can help ease the financial burden and ensure that you and your child have access to the best medical care, treatment, rehabilitation, and quality of life possible. If you have questions, please contact the attorneys in Sommers Schwartz’s Medical Malpractice Litigation Group today – we’re here to help.