Failing To Recommend Prenatal Testing May Constitute Medical Malpractice

Failing To Recommend Prenatal Testing May Constitute Medical Malpractice

Finding out your pregnant can be both an exciting time and a frightening one. While the birth of one’s child can be one of the greatest days in a woman’s life, the preceding months may be stressful for many moms-to-be, especially if they have health concerns. Many prenatal tests exist that can help predict the likelihood of a potential birth defect, or other health issues that may affect the child. However, just how much or how little a woman wishes to know about areas of concern varies from person to person.

However despite these preferences, it is the role of the doctor to advise women concerning what prenatal tests are available and recommended, especially for those who are older or who have certain risk factors. The failure of your doctor to advise you concerning the available tests, and your risk factors can constitute medical malpractice.

Further, where those tests reveal an abnormality or birth defect – having prior knowledge of an issue may allow the family the opportunity to take steps to decrease the severity of a condition. Several courts have determined that depriving a woman of the opportunity to take steps concerning her unborn child constitutes compensable medical malpractice.

For example in a recent prenatal negligence case, a mother received more than $6 million as the result of the failure of physicians to consider the woman's family's history of disease during her pregnancy. The mother's medical history showed that her unborn baby had a significantly increased risk of being born with a rare metabolic disease, which could have been prevented with the proper prenatal tests, and could also have been treated had postnatal tests been conducted.

As stated by one pre-natal medical expert "Any woman who presents for prenatal care should be offered the option of some first-trimester and second-trimester screening… And any woman who wants more invasive testing should be able to make that choice for herself, regardless of age."

If you have questions about your prenatal care or believe that your physician failed to adequately provide genetic or other prenatal screenings please contact the dedicated attorneys at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP for an immediate consultation.


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