Tay Sachs Disease Attorneys in New Jersey
Fighting for Your Family when Your Child is Born with Undiagnosed Tay-Sachs
Family planning involves so many choices. Parents not only decide when the time is right to have children but also what is right for their children for education, nutrition, and activities. Envisioning family life, for some, may mean deciding not to have children. Some parents do not want children and others want children but not if they are unable to care for them. What all family planners have in common is their right to make decisions for their lives. While it is true that people cannot always control what happens to them, getting sick or experiencing an earthquake, for example, they certainly do not want others to remove their options. If you knew that getting pregnant would result in a child with a deadly disease like Tay-Sachs disease, you might elect to adopt, take your chances, or any number of possibilities. And yet, if your doctor prevents you from knowing that your baby will have the disease, they have deprived you of a life-altering choice.
Fronzuto Law Group’s experienced wrongful birth attorneys do not hesitate to seek the top achievable financial recovery for victims of negligent genetic screening and undiagnosed birth defects. Under the direction of firm founder, New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Civil Trial Attorney Ernest Fronzuto, our lawyers personally and attentively handle each and every client’s case with a commitment to reaching the best possible result. Whether your child requires extensive medical care for the duration of their life, or you lost them after a Tay Sachs diagnosis in early life, we are here to provide answers and aggressive advocacy. Contact us at 973-435-4551 for personalized guidance and a free consultation with an experienced lawyer on our team today.
What Happens with Tay-Sachs Disease
Tay-Sachs disease is not only fatal but, in many cases, the cause of childhood death. It is a rare, inherited disease that causes neurological damage to brain and spinal cord cells. Both parents must carry the gene responsible for the disease, even though they are often asymptomatic. Signs of the condition typically first manifest in an infant of three to six months, as a developing child begins to lose muscle strength and fall behind on developmental milestones. Suddenly a baby who could turn over, sit up or crawl, can no longer move. They may become overly sensitive to noise and eventually suffer seizures, cognitive decline, paralysis and deprivation of hearing and vision. A child with Tay-Sachs is sometimes identified by a red spot on the eye. Sadly, infants with Tay Sachs disease generally die as young children.
Besides infantile Tay-Sachs disease, which is more severe, a rare but milder type can strike anyone at any age. Although there is a difference in the age of onset, symptoms are typically similar to those affecting infants with the disease. A person may be affected by one or more symptoms and individuals may experience them differently, but mental disorders, weakening of the muscles, coordination difficulties, challenges speaking, and other effects may manifest with Tay-Sachs. Though it seldom occurs in most groups of people, it disproportionately affects certain backgrounds and origins, including those of Jewish descent in eastern and central Europe, French-Canadians in Quebec, the Amish in Pennsylvania, and Cajuns in Louisiana.
Genetic Mutation Responsible for Causing Tay-Sachs
Tay-Sachs occurs in people who carry the mutated HEXA gene, which is responsible for the disease. The HEXA gene is tasked with producing enzymes that break down toxins in the brain and spinal cord nerve cells when functioning normally. If mutations in the gene prevent this from happening, too much poison builds up, and the neurons are destroyed. This leads to the many detrimental impacts of Tay-Sachs Disease, which is also known as HEXA deficiency or TSD.
Prenatal Genetic Tests for Detecting Tay-Sachs
While prevention is impossible, parents can have genetic testing to find out if they are carriers of the disease or if the fetus has it. If one or both parents carry the gene, then they can decide whether they want children. If the fetus has the disease, they can decide whether to abort or carry the fetus to term. Of course, the only way that parents have choices is if they are tested. Genetic testing is offered to all pregnant women, who are frequently screened in the first and second trimesters. Screening tests allow parents to understand the likelihood of their baby being born with inherited birth defects and disorders. Physicians with pregnant patients who are older, have a family history of genetic disorders or whose ethnicity makes them higher risk for birth defects may recommend genetic screening to determine the odds of having a child with genetic abnormalities.
Although there are downsides to genetic screening, whether before or after becoming pregnant, confirming and clarifying the composition and risks associated with your genetic makeup and that of your partner can prove invaluable when making significant decisions about pregnancy. Two diagnostic tests, chorionic villus sampling (CVS) and amniocentesis can determine with greater certainty whether a fetus’s genes carry mutations. Both are invasive tests, with CVS extracting tissue samples from the placenta and amniocentesis drawing amniotic fluid by needle insertion into the abdomen.
Informing Parents about their Options and Failure to do so may be Malpractice
Genetic testing is always a matter of weighing risks and making choices. While some people would choose to abort a child with Tay Sachs disease, others would not. Without the information from screening and diagnostic testing, a patient is deprived of options. They must face their circumstances only at birth or shortly after, in the case of infantile Tay Sachs disease. By then, some options are already gone. Thus, a physician’s responsibility is to counsel their patients at the outset of pregnancy or before, if possible. You should be informed about the screening tests available, and this especially true for those with family histories and backgrounds showing known age and ethnicity risks.
Gynecologists and obstetricians, specialists in reproductive health and pregnancy, know the risk indicators, so when they fail to educate their at-risk patients about Tay Sachs disease risk and their choices, they may commit malpractice that injures parents and children alike. The health care costs, let alone the emotional pain, for treating Tay Sachs disease are steep. There is no cure for Tay Sachs, so palliative care is the only treatment. Keeping a child with TSD comfortable with medications for pain and seizures, respiratory treatments, physical therapy, and nutritional help will most likely involve numerous medical professionals and doctor visits. Additionally, families caring for children with TSD may need emotional and therapeutic support for the challenges they face.
A medical professional’s malpractice that leads to wrongful birth may occur in multiple ways when it comes to Tay-Sachs and other inherited conditions. Parents may have grounds for a wrongful birth lawsuit against a doctor who failed to inform, screen or test for genetic mutations leading to the birth of a child with Tay-Sachs disease. Wrongful birth rests on the right to be informed of their child’s birth defects, and parents may file a claim against a practitioner who failed to notify them that they carried the Tay-Sachs mutations. The damages available in a wrongful birth lawsuit can account for past and future medical care costs and emotional distress.
Have a Baby with Tay-Sachs Disease in NJ? Talk to a Lawyer Today
If you and your child suffered from your medical provider’s negligence for failing to warn, screen, test, or competently relay the test results of your child’s Tay-Sachs disease or your status as a carrier of the genetic markers for this condition, call 973-435-4551 to speak with a medical malpractice and birth injury attorney who can more thoroughly explain your legal options. Fronzuto Law Group is here to assist you in a free consultation.