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Can a doctor be liable for a baby’s undiagnosed heart condition?

If you and your spouse or partner are like most expecting parents in Queens, then you likely await the arrival of your child with great anticipation as well as angst. While you are no doubt excited about your new addition, you may also be nervous about the baby’s development. Complications that can arise during fetal development can include congenital heart defects. If such a condition is missed and your baby ultimately dies because of it, can you hold the doctor who failed to diagnose it responsible?

Finding an answer to this question may not be easy. According to information shared by the American Medical Forensics Specialists, 4,500 cases of congenital heart defects occur for every 700,000 live births. Their information goes on to state that 25 percent of these babies will be discharged without a diagnosis, and as many as 30 will die before the condition is ever discovered. Some may argue that there is nothing a doctor can do to keep your baby from developing a heart defect while still in the womb. While that may be true, there may also be steps that can be taken to cope with the condition if it is diagnosed.

Testing is available to determine whether a congenital heart defect exists prior to your baby’s birth. If such a defect is missed, then you may reasonably question if proper steps were taken to discover it. If not, then you may have a case for negligence.

If your child is born with a heart defect, certain actions may induce stress on his or her heart to the point of causing it to fail. A provider whose actions (or lack thereof) may have precipitated such an event may also be held liable. 

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