Medical errors during pregnancy ultrasound exams can lead to genetic abnormalities in developing fetuses.
Ultrasound Birth Injuries
Ultrasounds are routinely used by medical professionals and hospitals to examine the overall health of a pregnant woman and her developing fetus. Although most procedures are considered completely safe for mother and child, errors do occur. Most medical errors that occur during ultrasound exams are caused by negligent actions on the part of the physician or technician performing the procedure. Common forms of negligence include:
- Lack of proper training on equipment
- Defective or damaged equipment
- Poor or distorted imaging
- Misinterpretation of ultrasound results
- Misdiagnosis of fetal conditions
- Failure to order further testing
In a recent Cook County case, a mother was awarded more than $1 million in a medical malpractice lawsuit that alleged that medical staff at an Oak Park Medical Center ignored ultrasound results that indicated there was no fetal movement for six hours during the mother’s labor. As a result, the baby was born with severe brain damage. A medical expert testified that a cesarean section would have prevented the child’s brain damage, but the medical staff failed to act.
The high-frequency sound waves used in ultrasound procedures during pregnancy produce images of the inside of the body and womb. The images, known as sonograms, can show pictures of internal organs and body cavities without using any invasive procedures, allowing doctors to screen for maternal and fetal problems prior to birth. Ultrasounds are routinely used to confirm pregnancy; determine fetal age and heartbeat; monitor fetal growth; examine the baby’s position in the womb, and determine an approximate due date for birth.
Ultrasounds are extremely useful to identify health problems during pregnancy and predict possible complications for mother or baby during birth. Most routine ultrasounds are performed during the second trimester of pregnancy, between 16 and 20 weeks, but some may be done earlier at a doctor’s request. It’s up to the mother’s attending OB-GYN to order ultrasound exams and other procedures during pregnancy.
When done properly, ultrasounds can prevent serious birth injuries. However, medical errors can lead to a variety of health problems for a baby. Failure to perform a necessary C-section or properly diagnose a birth defect can result in physical deformities, cognitive disorders, seizures, brain damage, cerebral palsy, and life-long disabilities for a child. Unfortunately, Chicago medical malpractice attorneys often see birth injuries caused by medical errors during exams and procedures and wrongful death lawsuits due to negligence.