In the last decades, the medical world has advanced a lot but so did the patient expectations regarding the standard of care. Nowadays there is a vicious circle surrounding the healthcare system. Patients can no longer discern the difference between unexpected complications and medical negligence. Furthermore when actual negligence occurs the medical world tried to hide it thus making the patients even more suspicious regarding their well being. In the present pregnancy ultrasound negligence is a very controversial subject which has both material and moral implications.
Pregnancy ultrasound claims usually concern children who were born with genetic disorders or birth defects. The recent technological discoveries have made ultrasonography very efficient in detecting these problems in the early stages of pregnancy. Usually there is an ultrasound test performed during 16-22 weeks of pregnancy that is very accurate in determining pregnancy problems. It is called Fetal Anatomical Survey and it analyzes the baby’s anatomy. Based on this information as well as on the family’s medical history and some routine blood tests, a doctor can not only determine an existing problem but also the risks of developing future complications. Women who have high risks of giving birth to a baby with problems are recommended to take a targeted ultrasound which is a lot more accurate . Given the costs or raising an impaired child as well as the life long care, a lot of parents choose to terminate problematic pregnancies.
There are many things that can go wrong when analyzing the results of an ultrasound. A radiologist can be negligent when reading the ultrasound or the obstetrician can neglect ordering an ultrasound even if a patient presents high risks of genetic disorders. Furthermore, when an ultrasound is suspicious or unclear, the obstetrician should order a follow up. If he fails to do so he is liable for malpractice.
The most common claim comes from the parents. They can claim that due to the doctor’s negligence in reading the ultrasound they were deprived the possibility of terminating an abnormal pregnancy. The mother can claim financial support for additional costs that come with raising a handicapped child. Furthermore a claim can also be made on behalf of the child seeking compensation for being forced to live an impaired existence. This is called a wrongful life claim and there are a lot of ethical questions that surround it.
Despite the many wrongful life claims, one can’t help but wonder about the reasoning behind these claims. Some people argue that choosing to give life to a handicapped child is pure cruelty. However others claim that all babies have the right to live no matter what the ultrasound sounds like. Still, the moral implications of abortion have little to do with the standard of care. All healthcare providers have a duty of offering medical support to their patients. If they fail to do so they need to deal with the consequences. If you were unfortunate enough to have a problematic pregnancy which the obstetrician failed to discover you should seek legal advice. Wrongful life claims are complicated and controversial but a good medical negligence solicitor can help you get financial compensation. Though no amount of money can repair an impaired child, financial compensation can help you slightly improve the life of your child.