What Happens When Abnormalities Are Missed On Obstetrical Ultrasounds?

Pointing at an ultrasound

Healthcare practitioners providing obstetric care are responsible for performing appropriate prenatal screenings and diagnostic tests when required. These providers have a duty to diagnose abnormalities and provide patients with accurate information about the risks associated with their pregnancy.

What is a Wrongful Birth Claim?

A wrongful birth lawsuit is when the plaintiffs assert that they would have terminated a pregnancy, had they been properly informed of potential birth defects and/or medical conditions by a healthcare provider. Wrongful birth claims involve severely disabled children who need lifelong care. These injuries can include:

  • catastrophic brain injuries
  • vision loss
  • hearing impairment
  • inability to walk
  • inability to eat independently

One of the most common issues that forms the basis of a wrongful birth claim is when a “red flag” is missed or interpreted inaccurately on an obstetrical ultrasound. For example, the fetus is showing signs indicating there may be a genetic disorder, which is not detected by the sonographer or radiologist, and therefore not communicated to the parents.

The Prenatal Screening

Obstetrical ultrasounds are conducted at various gestational periods of pregnancy and involve a detailed look at the anatomy and physical development of the fetus. There are various “markers” that sonographers and radiologists will use to determine whether a fetus is developing appropriately. If a radiologist has concerns when reviewing the imaging from the obstetrical ultrasound, they can provide various treatment recommendations such as a repeat scan, a target ultrasound which is a more detailed scan and/or referral to a specialist such as a Maternal Fetal Medicine physician.

Wrongful Birth Damages and The Limitation Period

In wrongful birth claims, parents typically seek damages for the costs associated with raising a child with extraordinary care needs, including medical expenses, therapy and educational support. They may also seek compensation for loss of income and emotional distress/psychological harm resulting from the birth of a child with profound disabilities.

It is very important to note that, unlike a birth injury claim, the limitation period for a wrongful birth claim runs two years from the date of the child’s birth. In a birth injury lawsuit, the claim is brought on behalf of the child, whereas in a wrongful birth claim, the claim is being advanced on behalf of the parents, only.

Contact our Toronto Wrongful Birth Lawyers for a Free Consultation

Raising a child with serious medical complexities can be costly, and getting the right help can be difficult. Exploring the available options for support and care for your child and family is important.

At Howie, Sacks & Henry, we understand your families’ challenges. Our experienced wrongful birth lawyers can assist you in navigating the legal process. They can also help you secure financial support for your child’s present and future needs in cases of wrongful birth injuries.

Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case and learn how we can assist you during this difficult time. You can book your consultation with our wrongful birth injury lawyers by calling or chatting with us online or filling out a form consultation request here.

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