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Delayed blood tests could result in newborn injuries


The birth of a child is meant to be an exciting time filled with happiness. Oregon mothers often look forward to taking their child home where they can start their new lives together. However, a birth injury can cut that happiness short and leave a child with a serious injury, including permanent disability which may require long-term care. While many of these injuries occur during the delivery process, a new study has found a failure to run tests after the child's birth can be deadly.

When a child is born, the hospital is typically required to run tests on the newborn baby's blood to check for rare genetic disorders. Galactosemia, for example, is a disorder where a baby is unable to process galactose, a sugar present in milk. If the disease is not caught by blood tests, the child may be unable to process the galactose in breast milk or formula, resulting in the buildup of toxins. These toxins, in turn, can cause brain damage in a matter of days.

Though hospitals are supposed to run blood tests within one to two days, depending on the state, all too often these tests are delayed or never run at all. Unfortunately, many times these errors are caused by negligent staff that is unaware of the protocols they are supposed to follow.

When a medical professional's preventable error causes harm to a newborn child, physical, emotional and financial harm can occur. The child may be unable to live a normal life, and long-term care can be costly. Parents may struggle to deal with these issues, but they may find relief through a lawsuit.

Substandard medical care may equate to negligence. If negligence can be proven to have caused the child's injuries, then a medical malpractice case may be won, meaning compensation might be recoverable. These awards might then help parents cover the costs of caring for their injured child while punishing the errant medical professionals who caused them such substantial harm.

Source: NPR, "Infants At Risk Due To Blood-Test Delays," Dec. 9, 2013

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