Failure to Diagnose Cystic Fibrosis

NJ Malpractice Attorneys Handling Misdiagnosis of Cystic Fibrosis Claims

Representing New Jersey clients in wrongful birth claims related to CF diagnoses

When parents learn that a fetus has cystic fibrosis, they can make an informed decision whether to go ahead with the pregnancy. Unfortunately, many parents do not find out that their child has this devastating condition until after the child is born. This can lead to a legal claim of wrongful birth against the medical providers.

At Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP, our New Jersey wrongful birth attorneys have the experience, resources, and integrity to successfully represent clients in these complex cases. We have successfully secured compensation for clients throughout the state, ensuring that our clients and their children have access to the medical care and assistance they need.

What is cystic fibrosis?

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is an inherited disease that causes severe damage to the lungs and digestive system. Per the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation:

“In people with CF, a defective gene causes a thick, sticky buildup of mucus in the lungs, pancreas, and other organs. In the lungs, the mucus clogs the airways and traps bacteria leading to infections, extensive lung damage, and eventually, respiratory failure. In the pancreas, the mucus prevents the release of digestive enzymes that allow the body to break down food and absorb vital nutrients.”

The condition is progressive, which means that it will get worse over time, and it is incurable. Medical science has increased the lifespan of a person with CF – the median age for children born between 2012 and 2016 is estimated to be 43 – but it is not an easy life, and there are very real challenges that patients will face.

Understanding the inheritance of the CF gene

Cystic fibrosis is the result of a defective gene (the transmembrane conductance regulator gene, or CFTR) and it is passed from parents to children. Parents with a copy of the defective gene are called “carriers.” If both parents carry the CF gene, there is a 1 in 4 chance that the child will have the disease, and a 1 in 2 chance that the child will be a carrier.

There are more than 10,000,000 Americans with a CFTR gene mutation. There are more than 1,700 different types of CFTR mutations, though not all of them will actually cause CF.

One way to determine if your child is at risk is to undergo testing. Genetic testing and counseling can inform parents prior to conception whether their children will be at risk for the disease. If the woman is pregnant, doctors can test the baby in utero.

How CF is treated

Because there is no cure for cystic fibrosis, patients will need to undergo some form of medical treatments for their entire lives. Because the disease is progressive, those medical treatments will likely increase in number and in cost as years go by.

To date, the most common forms of CF treatment include:

  • Medical devices used to clear mucus form the lungs and pathways
  • Medicine delivered by inhaler
  • Pancreatic enzyme supplements (in addition to multivitamins)
  • Medication like CFTR modulators

Patients who rely on any of these medications or devices to keep their lungs clear, and their bodies absorbing nutrients, will do so for their entire lives. Eventually, the disease will prove terminal.

Protecting NJ parents’ rights to make an informed decision

The state of New Jersey allows a woman to terminate a pregnancy up to 24 weeks after conception. If your medical provider failed to inform you of this right and did not perform blood testing early enough to allow you to make a decision, you may be entitled to compensation for wrongful birth.

Making a claim for wrongful birth in New Jersey

Our New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers understand the medicine and the case law related to wrongful birth of a child with cystic fibrosis. We understand the difficulties parents face in raising a child with cystic fibrosis. We also understand that you love your child. Wrongful birth claims are not lawsuits that claim you wish you hadn’t had a child; they are claims based on medical negligence on behalf of doctors who breached their duty of care. A successful wrongful birth claim will allow you to help your child survive, and to live his or her life with access to the medicine he or she needs. It is about giving your child the best possible quality of life.

You will find our entire professional staff compassionate, responsive, and focused on helping you recover the compensation your family needs and deserves.

Contact Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP to learn more about your options

Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LL, has the skills, resources, and experience to handle complex wrongful birth cases. With offices in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River, our NJ medical malpractice lawyers advise and represent parents throughout the state. If your child has been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, we offer a free consultation to discuss your case. Please call 732-777-0100, or fill out our contact form.