Pennsylvania Spina Bifida Attorneys

Spina Bifida

Cherry Injury Law of Pennsylvania offers the following explanation of spina bifida and doctors’ responsibilities for informing patients of their risks of having a child with the condition.

Spina bifida refers to a group of birth defects that affect the neural tube, which is the part of a growing embryo that will eventually become the baby’s brain, spinal cord and protective tissues. Babies whose neural tubes don’t develop or close properly experience defects in their spines and spinal cords.

These are the three forms of spina bifida:

  • Spina bifida occulta
    This is the mildest form. It involves a small gap in one or more vertebrae and usually causes no symptoms.
  • Meningocele
    This is the rarest form. Protective membranes around the spinal cord push out through an opening in the vertebrae. Membranes can be removed by surgery without damage to the nerves.
  • Myelomeningocele
    This is the most severe form. The baby’s spinal canal remains open along several vertebrae in the low to mid back, causing membranes and cord to protrude at birth in a “sac” on the baby’s back. It can result in life-threatening infections, neurological impairment, bladder and bowel problems, seizures and other complications.

Spina bifida is thought to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors including a family history of neural tube defects and folic acid deficiency. Doctors should recommend that women trying to conceive begin taking a folic acid supplement and continue to take it until the baby is delivered. Doctors should advise parents who have family members with spina bifida or already had a child with some form of neural tube defect that they are facing an increased risk. In addition, some medications such as anti-seizure pharmaceuticals cause spina bifida when taken during pregnancy; therefore, physicians should discuss options for changing or discontinuing an expectant mother’s anti-seizure medications.

Other risk factors include maternal diabetes that isn’t well controlled and obesity. Pregnant women should also avoid elevating their core body temperature as evidence indicates even an increase of three or four degrees above normal can contribute to a greater risk of neural tube defects.

It is a physician’s responsibility to fully explain the risks of spina bifida to parents and recommend how to avoid development of neural tube birth defects. Signs of spina bifida may be evident in the developing fetus if proper scans are run, allowing parents to make informed decisions about how to proceed with a pregnancy. Cherry Injury Law wants Philadelphia-area parents to understand that they have a right to expect proper prenatal screening and advice from their doctors regarding spina bifida.

Visit our site dedicated to Pennsylvania Birth Injury Law.

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If you have been seriously injured in the state of Pennsylvania by the negligence of another and if you have questions or concerns about your legal rights, please don’t hesitate to call. Our Pennsylvania injury attorneys are available 24 hours a day to speak with you, and we welcome all calls at no charge. Contact us today at 610-565-0300.