About Holoprosencephaly Birth Injuries
Holoprosencephaly is a congenital disorder where the brain does not properly divide into two hemispheres. In most cases, a baby with this condition dies before birth. For children who survive, the failure of the brain to properly divide causes defects in the development of the skull, face and brain function. There are several different classifications, including:
- Alobar holoprosencephaly: the most severe type, the brain fails to divide and the child suffers from severe facial abnormalities, including a lack of a nose and a single eye.
- Semilobar holoprosencephaly: The hemisphere of the brain divides partially.
- Lobar holoprosencephaly: The least severe form, and the child’s brain may function nearly normally.
Most children born with holoprosencephaly have at least some degree of developmental delay, and usually mental retardation. These deficits can be quite profound. They are also susceptible to seizures and feeding difficulties.
Causes of Holoprosencephaly
The causes of holoprosencephaly are not known with any degree of certainty. Some believe that there may be a genetic component, but non-genetic risk factors include gestational diabetes, first trimester bleeding, drug and alcohol use and prior miscarriage.
Though holoprosencephaly cannot be prevented at this time, it is detectable early on with prenatal ultrasounds. It can be seen as early as nine to 14 weeks, in some cases. If the ultrasound is inconclusive, a fetal MRI can be performed.
If a sonographer (radiologist) or obstetrician does not perform proper testing to exclude holoprosencephaly, or if they fail to accurately report the results of those tests to the parent, they may be liable in a type of medical malpractice case. A child may have a claim called wrongful life, and the parent may have a claim called wrongful birth. Not all states recognize these claims. Essentially, these claims argue that the parent would have legally terminated the pregnancy if she had known about the genetic injury. Because she did not have that opportunity, one of the elements of damages is for the cost of medical and other care over and above what would have been required for a child without the injury.
Children with holoprosencephaly often require 24-hour nursing care and extensive medical treatment. These injuries can be expensive and devastating to families. If your child was born with holoprosencephaly, contact our medical malpractice lawyers at (855) 712-7818 or online to determine whether you have a claim for the cost of extraordinary medical expenses or pain and suffering.