Ultrasound has become a vital tool used during pregnancy. Since this groundbreaking medical imaging test was first developed in the 1950s, ultrasounds have aided medical professionals in providing better care for pregnant women and their unborn babies. By generating actual images of a woman’s womb and the developing fetus inside, doctors can more readily diagnose and treat serious conditions that may affect the mother or fetus. Unfortunately, errors do occur during ultrasound exams, with the potential to cause catastrophic results. Medical malpractice with sonograms can lead to undiagnosed genetic abnormalities in developing fetuses, as well as failure to diagnose a vast array of maternal and fetal problems. When these mistakes occur, victims may be entitled to compensation for the undue suffering inflicted upon them. In many cases, this financial recovery supports the necessary care of the child or the woman for the rest of their lives.
If you or your baby has suffered injuries as a result of ultrasound-related medical malpractice, you are undoubtedly traumatized and being forced to cope with the long-term effects that these mistakes have had on you and your family. During such a devastating and overwhelming time, you are likely wondering how these errors occurred and what you can do to seek justice and compensation. Our team of attorneys is highly experienced in the realm of prenatal care negligence and birth injuries and we are thoroughly prepared to walk you through the complexities of the legal process. If you would like more information about lawsuits for sonography malpractice and how we can help pursue a financial recovery from your OB-GYN or another medical professional in New Jersey, contact us now at (866)-708-8617 or request a free case evaluation by filling out our easy online form.
Prenatal Ultrasound Testing
Ultrasound employs high-frequency sound waves to produce images of the inside of the body. These images are known as sonograms, which may show pictures of body cavities, organs, and other internal structures. Like other forms of medical imaging, ultrasound provides a view of the inside of a given region of the body without using invasive procedures. These scans now play an important role in prenating screening, allowing physicians and expectant parents to see the developing fetus during pregnancy.
While there was some debate previously, no evidence exists to indicate serious risks associated with ultrasound scanning during pregnancy. In fact, these tests have become ubiquitous in the United States. The initial ultrasound scan is usually given to pregnant women in the second trimester at between 16 and 20 weeks. However, some receive earlier ultrasounds before 14 weeks, while technically in the first trimester of pregnancy. It is your OB-GYN’s responsibility to determine if you may need an ultrasound sooner than most women to confirm or rule out any potential complications.
What are Ultrasounds Used for During Pregnancy?
Ultrasounds (also called sonograms) may be used during pregnancy for many reasons, including:
- To confirm a pregnancy
- To examine a woman’s womb (uterus, ovaries)
- To determine fetal age and approximate due date
- To identify the presence of multiple pregnancies, including twins or triplets
- To check fetal heartbeat
- To monitor the growth of the fetus, assess movement and muscle tone
- To identify potential birth defects and other health conditions that may affect the child
- To further the diagnosis of pregnancy-related complications, such as ectopic pregnancy
- To determine the baby’s position before delivery
- To identify potential risk factors for birth injuries
Common Mistakes with Sonograms
Ultrasound is a critical technique to examine the overall health of a pregnant woman and developing fetus. It is the leading method that doctors use to evaluate the pregnancy as a whole, and to spot potential fetal and gynecologic conditions. With such a crucial part to play in the prenatal care process, ultrasound errors can lead to devastating results. Sonographic medical malpractice may be caused by inexperienced sonographers, inadequately maintained equipment, failure to accurately interpret ultrasound results, and communication failures on the part of the doctor, sonographer, or medical team.
Some of the most common forms of negligence with ultrasound testing involve:
- Lack of training or education in sonography
- Low-quality images
- Misinterpretation of sonogram results
- Failure to identify an existing condition
- Misdiagnosis of maternal or fetal conditions
- Defective or damaged equipment
- Lack of proper equipment maintenance
- Failure to order further testing
- Failure to communicate ultrasound findings to the parent(s) or other treatment providers
All of these serious ultrasound errors may result in severe consequences. For instance, if a baby is in the breech position or another abnormal birth presentation, failure to identify this may prevent a doctor from performing a necessary cesarean (C-section), which can lead to serious birth injuries. Likewise, failure to diagnose a birth defect in the womb deprives parents of the opportunity to avoid having a child who is forced to cope with a lifelong physical deformity or another permanent condition. This is known as wrongful birth. Other medical mistakes with sonograms may involve a maternal condition or risk. For example, if the mother’s womb is too small or the baby is too large for a vaginal delivery, missing this can lead to brachial plexus injuries and Erb’s Palsy.
Contact a New Jersey Ultrasound Malpractice Lawyer Today
If you need assistance with an ultrasound-related malpractice case or simply want to know more about your legal options when harmed by prenatal testing errors, you are best advised to speak with an experienced medical malpractice attorney. We can assist you with all of the legal aspects of your case involving negligent care during pregnancy or birth in New Jersey and the surrounding region. Call (866)-708-8617 for a free consultation.