Failure to Diagnose Down Syndrome

NJ Malpractice Lawyers Handling Misdiagnosis of Down Syndrome Claims

Representing New Jersey clients in wrongful birth claims related to Down syndrome misdiagnoses

Learning that an unborn child has Down syndrome can create a heart-wrenching decision for a mother. Should she go ahead with the pregnancy, or exercise her right under New Jersey law to terminate it? While the choice is not an easy one, some parents are not given the information they need to make that decision. This can lead to a legal claim of wrongful birth against the health care provider.

The New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers of Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP have the experience, acumen, and integrity to successfully represent clients in wrongful birth cases. Our attorneys obtained significant verdicts and settlements on behalf of wrongful birth clients, including an $8.2 million verdict for a family with a 4-year-old child with Down syndrome.

What is Down syndrome?

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes. A person with Down syndrome has an extra copy (or an extra partial copy) of chromosome 21. The name Down syndrome comes from an English doctor, John Langdon Down, who first described the syndrome in 1866.

Down syndrome is the most common type of chromosomal disorder in America; per the National Down Syndrome Society, “approximately one in every 700 babies in the United States is born with Down syndrome, making Down syndrome the most common chromosomal condition. About 6,000 babies with Down syndrome are born in the United States each year.”

Down syndrome usually presents with distinct facial properties: a flattening of the face, eye lids that slant slightly upward, smaller-than-average sized ears, and a slightly protruding tongue, among other features. Not every person diagnosed with Down syndrome will display all of these distinct characteristics.

Furthermore, Down syndrome usually leads to some level of cognitive difficulties and memory problems. Some people are able to live on their own in adulthood; others will require some level of care for the rest of their lives.

Types of Down syndrome

Down syndrome is categorized in three ways:

  • Trisomy 21, the most common form of Down syndrome caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21 in every cell.
  • Mosaic, where only some cells have an extra copy of chromosome 21.
  • Translocation, where a part of chromosome 21 attaches to another chromosome. This is the only form of Down syndrome which may be inherited from a parent.

Complications arising from a Down syndrome diagnosis

Down syndrome is not fatal in and of itself. However, the condition can cause a wide range of health complications, and some of these complications can prove fatal. They include:

  • Congenital heart defects that may require surgery to fix
  • Risk of spinal cord injury from a misalignment of the vertebrae and overextension of the neck
  • Gastrointestinal problems ranging from heartburn to abnormalities of the trachea, esophagus, intestines, and anus
  • Higher risk for autoimmune diseases and infections
  • Increased risk of developing leukemia
  • Increased risk of early-onset dementia
  • Seizures
  • Sleep apnea
  • Obesity
  • Hearing and vision problems

Reasons to file a wrongful birth suit in New Jersey

The state of New Jersey allows a woman to terminate a pregnancy up to 24 weeks after conception, either at a licensed facility (up to 14 weeks) or at a hospital (up to 24 weeks). Doctors are obligated to inform their patients of this right and perform prenatal screening at an early enough time to allow the woman to make the decision whether or not to have the child. Unfortunately, some women are prevented from making an informed decision because their medical provider:

  • Failed to inform patients of their rights
  • Performed the screening test incorrectly
  • Failed to perform prenatal screening at all
  • Withheld screening results
  • Misread screening results

These can all be construed as acts of medical negligence. As such, under the law you have the right to seek compensation if you can prove that an act of medical negligence denied you the ability to make an informed decision. The associated costs of raising a child with Down syndrome, or with any kind of genetic disorder or birth defect, can be significant, and can last a lifetime.

Furthermore, people with Down syndrome have a much longer life expectancy than people with other types of genetic disorders or birth defects. It is entirely conceivable that your child will outlive you, but still need some level of care and medical assistance for the rest of his or her life.

A successful wrongful birth claim can help you provide for your child for the rest of his or her lifetime. We know that you love your child. Wrongful birth suits are not about that. These claims are about an act of medical malpractice that may have forced you into a direction you may not have chosen to take, based on what was best for your family. They are about protecting your family, both now and in the future.

If your child was diagnosed with Down syndrome, you can help protect him or her

Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP is a premier New Jersey medical malpractice law firm. Our NJ wrongful birth lawyers have successfully represented clients whose children were diagnosed with Down syndrome. With offices in Edison, Red Bank, and Toms River, our lawyers advise and represent parents throughout the state. Please call 732-777-0100, or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation.

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Testimonials

I also WON lifelong FRIENDS!

"The list is LONG of the wonderful things that I can say about Barry, Maria (his assistant) & the rest of the folks that I had the HONOR of spending time with during my case. I brought my case to another lawyer that told me that I have no case, yet Barry was not only able to WIN, but he WON a substantial amount! Lawyers have awful reputations, but Barry defies every single one of them! Barry Eichen genuinely CARES about his clients!! NOTHING was too much to ask for – there was no such thing as too many phone calls! Without a doubt, I was in the BEST HANDS with Barry as my attorney! I not only WON my lawsuit, but I also WON lifelong FRIENDS!"

~ Client

Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP
5.0
2018-10-22T00:29:45+00:00

~ Client

"The list is LONG of the wonderful things that I can say about Barry, Maria (his assistant) & the rest of the folks that I had the HONOR of spending time with during my case. I brought my case to another lawyer that told me that I have no case, yet Barry was not only able to WIN, but he WON a substantial amount! Lawyers have awful reputations, but Barry defies every single one of them! Barry Eichen genuinely CARES about his clients!! NOTHING was too much to ask for – there was no such thing as too many phone calls! Without a doubt, I was in the BEST HANDS with Barry as my attorney! I not only WON my lawsuit, but I also WON lifelong FRIENDS!"

I have to say he is a great person.

"I had a bad accident back in June of 2015. My dad knows Barry. I have to say he is a great person. I was unsatisfied with some things that were happening with a previous lawyer and he made sure everything was fixed and I was satisfied. My lawyer Edward McElroy is great he answers emails in a timely matter even on weekends. I know they probably used to get annoyed with me calling all the time Lol. But I was just curious to what is going on with my case. Nicole, Ed’s secretary is great. She always responds back to my emails in a timely matter as well and even checks up on things with me from time to time. Barry recently became my mother and cousins Lawyer do to a bad accident they were involved in as well. I would highly recommend this firm. Thanks guys 🙂"

~ Client

Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP
5.0
2018-10-31T17:42:12+00:00

~ Client

"I had a bad accident back in June of 2015. My dad knows Barry. I have to say he is a great person. I was unsatisfied with some things that were happening with a previous lawyer and he made sure everything was fixed and I was satisfied. My lawyer Edward McElroy is great he answers emails in a timely matter even on weekends. I know they probably used to get annoyed with me calling all the time Lol. But I was just curious to what is going on with my case. Nicole, Ed’s secretary is great. She always responds back to my emails in a timely matter as well and even checks up on things with me from time to time. Barry recently became my mother and cousins Lawyer do to a bad accident they were involved in as well. I would highly recommend this firm. Thanks guys 🙂"

Mr. Zaslow is truly the best.

"The loss of my husband due to malpractice was and is devastating, Daryl took on our case and said, “Unfortunately I can’t bring your husband back but I can make sure that you will be ok financially,” and that is what he did , with compassion and dedication and always made feel like he had time for me, I never felt rushed or unimportant, I cannot say enough about how professional yet caring this office has treated me . Mr. Zaslow is truly the best at what he does and I can’t say enough about his secretary who not only kept me informed but listened to me during the most painful time of my life , all I can say is what a great team . Thank you Daryl for helping me . Thank you Heather for listening."

~ C.C.

Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP
5.0
2018-10-31T17:44:24+00:00

~ C.C.

"The loss of my husband due to malpractice was and is devastating, Daryl took on our case and said, “Unfortunately I can’t bring your husband back but I can make sure that you will be ok financially,” and that is what he did , with compassion and dedication and always made feel like he had time for me, I never felt rushed or unimportant, I cannot say enough about how professional yet caring this office has treated me . Mr. Zaslow is truly the best at what he does and I can’t say enough about his secretary who not only kept me informed but listened to me during the most painful time of my life , all I can say is what a great team . Thank you Daryl for helping me . Thank you Heather for listening."

Daryl Zaslow went to bat for him

"When, at age 44 my son suffered a massive Ischemic stroke, my greatest concern was how he would be able to live a normal life without the use of his speech and his arm. Daryl Zaslow went to bat for him and through his tireless efforts, his medical knowledge and his sincere concern for my son, Mr. Zaslow secured for my son a future not only without financial worries, but with hope and happiness. There are no words to express the thanks of our family to a great lawyer."

~ Client

Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP
5.0
2018-10-31T17:48:36+00:00

~ Client

"When, at age 44 my son suffered a massive Ischemic stroke, my greatest concern was how he would be able to live a normal life without the use of his speech and his arm. Daryl Zaslow went to bat for him and through his tireless efforts, his medical knowledge and his sincere concern for my son, Mr. Zaslow secured for my son a future not only without financial worries, but with hope and happiness. There are no words to express the thanks of our family to a great lawyer."

Very very pleased with the service and professionalism.

"Very very pleased with the service and professionalism of this law firm. I really felt that my case was very important to them and went to every length to achieve the best outcome possible. Or attorney really went to bat for me and his staff was very professional and courteous. Highly recommended. Thank you again for a great outcome !!"

~ M.M.

Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP
5.0
2018-10-31T17:51:39+00:00

~ M.M.

"Very very pleased with the service and professionalism of this law firm. I really felt that my case was very important to them and went to every length to achieve the best outcome possible. Or attorney really went to bat for me and his staff was very professional and courteous. Highly recommended. Thank you again for a great outcome !!"

This is a 5 star firm.

"Great firm took me right in and sat with me and understood my case, unlike other attorneys I had seen. This is a 5 star firm."

~ Client

Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP
5.0
2018-10-31T18:04:32+00:00

~ Client

"Great firm took me right in and sat with me and understood my case, unlike other attorneys I had seen. This is a 5 star firm."

I would highly recommend his firm.

"Mr. Eichen handled a motorcycle accident for me in 2002, as well as various other cases since that time. I have permanent injuries from that accident and he was able to resolve my case for the full policy limits and get me compensation as quickly as possible. I would highly recommend his firm."

~ Client

Eichen Crutchlow Zaslow, LLP
5.0
2018-10-31T18:07:23+00:00

~ Client

"Mr. Eichen handled a motorcycle accident for me in 2002, as well as various other cases since that time. I have permanent injuries from that accident and he was able to resolve my case for the full policy limits and get me compensation as quickly as possible. I would highly recommend his firm."
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