According to the Spina Bifida Association (SBA), Spina bifida is the most common life-long disabling birth defect in the United States. Because October is Spina Bifida Awareness Month, it is important to understand the effects the condition may have on the life of the child suffering with this condition, as well as the child’s family.
Spina Bifida is a birth defect that develops in the early weeks of pregnancy. Although the cause is still mostly unknown, inheritance and environmental factors during pregnancy are often attributed to the defect. Literally meaning “split spine,” it involves an incomplete closing of the spinal column, which results in abnormal formation of the spinal cord and back bones. Spina Bifida results in altered or interrupted nerve impulses that the brain sends through the body to normally perform muscle, organ, and other physical functions.
This condition results in life-long disability and often a number of health complications. Any number of complications may arise from a Spina Bifida birth defect, and all follow the child throughout his or her life and into adulthood. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children and/or adults living with Spina Bifida may experience various symptoms and conditions including but not limited to the following:
• Inability to move the lower parts of the body without the use of a wheelchair, crutches, or braces;
• Fluid buildup putting pressure on the brain, which may require surgery;
• Learning disabilities; and
• Loss of bladder or bowel control.
With timely and appropriate prenatal testing, parents can make informed decisions about the pregnancy and/or what preparations need to be made to adequately support and provide for a child afflicted with Spina Bifida.
Without proper testing and/or proper reporting of test results, Spina Bifida may go undiagnosed; depriving parents of options to make informed decisions about the pregnancy and their child’s future.
If your child is afflicted with Spina Bifida and your physician or other healthcare provider did not properly screen for or diagnose it in a timely fashion, you may be entitled to financial compensation for damages associated with your child’s condition and the costs of their care. Contact the experienced New Jersey Spina Bifida attorneys at Blume Forte at 973-635-5400 to learn more about your legal rights and options.