A defendant doctor failed to diagnose an obvious neural tube defect after a routine ultrasound, causing the baby to be born with a devastating disability. The family settled with the negligent defendants for $6.8 million.
During her pregnancy, Mom developed vaginal bleeding and was taken to the Toronto, Ontario area hospital. The obstetrician ordered an ultrasound, but no abnormalities were found, so she was sent home. The ultrasound performed at the hospital in fact showed a neural tube defect called Spina Bifida, which ought to have been seen and reported. Subsequent ultrasounds ordered by her regular obstetrician found that the fetus had an open neural tube defect, but by that time it was too late for a therapeutic abortion.
The initial examination included 12 films of fetal organ systems, including the spine and the brain. The purpose was to determine the underlying condition of the fetus and to determine whether any abnormalities were present, and in particular, whether spina bifida was present. If spina bifida had been detected, he would have pursued further investigation radiologically and would have recommended an alpha-fetoprotein study to be done.
The baby was born with a huge defect in her spine and sustained hydrocephalus, an associated condition affecting her brain. She has a neurogenic bowel and bladder, and is paraplegic in her lower extremities. She has had major spinal surgery with fusions at multiple levels, is confined to a wheelchair, and will require 24 hour supervision throughout her life.
Sommers Roth & Elmaleh Professional Corporation has over 40 years of experience in medical malpractice litigation in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), Ontario, and across Canada.
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