Spina bifida is an early congenital disorder usually occurring at the end of the first month of pregnancy.  It is a birth defect in which the spine does not close completely around the spinal cord.  In developed countries its rate of incidence is about 0.4 per 1,000 births.  It is not known the cause of spina bifida, although it is thought to occur as a result of genetic, nutritional and possibly historical factors.  Depending on the type and severity of the condition, the symptoms can vary.  The main symptoms are mobility restrictions and learning and reading difficulties, although a greater proportion of people with spina bifida do not suffer any cognitive impairments.

Medical negligence claims can arise from spina bifida in relation to its diagnosis and treatment, typically screening tests such as an ultrasound scan and blood tests can diagnose spina bifida during the first trimester of pregnancy.  If there was no screening carried out, which would be unusual in Ireland or more likely if there was a mistake in reading the results, then there may well be a claim to be made in negligence. This is because a delay in diagnosing the condition can have profound effects on the mother but also the baby as spinal surgery is recommended within the first 48 hours after birth and if there is a delay beyond this time, it could restrict the baby’s opportunity to get the best possible success from their surgery.  Babies who develop hydrocephalus, which is a swelling of the head due to fluid build-up (“water on the brain”), and if there is a delay having this excessive fluid drained under surgery, then this delay can cause pain and suffering and also a decreased opportunity of success from the surgery and thereby increasing a poor long term outcome.  In this situation a successful medical negligence claim should arise.  In addition, treatment itself whether delayed or not may be performed negligently and this can cause long term poor outcomes and unnecessary pain and suffering, and again this would normally be a proper case in negligence.

Spina bifida and hydrocephalus claims

If you or your family have suffered from negligent diagnosis or treatment concerning spina bifida, hydrocephalus or associated conditions, our medical negligence solicitors can help you pursue a claim for compensation. To contact one of our medical negligence claims solicitors please call 0818 888 555 or WhatsApp/call 087 398 7386 or complete our online enquiry form

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