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Folic Acid Deficiency

Syracuse Lawyers Helping Families Harmed by Birth Injuries

Prenatal care is a critical aspect of an obstetrician-gynecologist’s practice and care of patients. When an expectant mother suffers from anemia due to a folic acid deficiency, her unborn fetus may develop birth defects. Accordingly, doctors should monitor the folate levels and red blood cell counts of their pregnant patients so that they can prescribe folic acid supplementation when the mother’s folate levels fall too low. If your baby was harmed due to a folic acid deficiency because your healthcare provider failed to counsel you during prenatal care, you should consult with a seasoned Syracuse birth injury attorneys at DeFrancisco & Falgiatano. We may be able to help you.

Folic Acid Deficiency

Folic acid is crucial to proper functioning of red blood cells and contributes to the healthy development of a fetus. Generally, expectant mothers are supposed to consume a certain quantity of folic acid on a daily basis. Some mothers may need to consume more than that baseline amount. Their blood should also be regularly checked for folic acid levels. When an expectant mother develops symptoms of folic acid deficiency anemia during her pregnancy, a doctor should order testing.

Babies who suffer from folic acid deficiency while in utero may suffer neural tube defects including anencephaly or spina bifida, low birth weight, stillbirth, brain damage, nervous system damage and heart defects.

Liability for Birth Injuries

To establish liability for birth injuries, an attorney will have to prove it’s more likely than not: (1) your health care provider owed you and the baby a professional standard of care, (2) breach of the professional standard of care, (3) causation, and (4) damages due to the birth injury. All doctors owe patients a professional duty of care, and this professional duty extends to nurses, physicians’ assistants, lab technicians and other hospital or clinic staff working for a doctor in a professional capacity. Before filing a complaint, a birth injury lawyer must consult with an experienced and credible expert. New York Civil Practice Law and Rules section 3012-a requires the plaintiff to file a certificate of merit with the medical malpractice complaint.

Because birth defects can raise complex medical issues, the lawyer also needs the expert witness to testify about the monitoring and treatment of folic acid deficiency required to meet the professional standard of care. The expert will then report whether the physician’s actions breached the professional standard of care, as well as whether the breach caused the birth injuries or defects. Often it’s appropriate to retain a board certified obstetrician-gynecologist as an expert witness in birth injury cases.

During negotiations and trial, the attorney will need to deploy evidence to show the jury that, given information possessed by your healthcare provider, including your symptoms or those of your fetus, laboratory results, and physical appearance, a reasonable doctor in the same situation would have diagnosed folic acid deficiency or folate-deficiency anemia and treated you. The professional duty of care is determined by looking at what a competent healthcare provider in the same specialty and in the same geographic region as the defendant would have provided given the same or similar circumstances.

Damages

If your attorneys are able to establish liability, they may be able to recover compensatory damages on behalf of you and your injured baby. These can include both economic and noneconomic losses. Economic losses cover medical bills, wage loss, out-of-pocket expenses, and replacement services while pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment and mental anguish are noneconomic losses. The severity of the birth injury will determine the amount that may be recovered. For instance, if your baby was born with anencephaly, a condition that often leads to death within days or weeks, and the doctor’s failure to diagnose and treat the folic acid deficiency caused the condition, you may be able to recover wrongful death damages.

Consult a Seasoned Birth Injury Attorney

If your baby was harmed by folic acid deficiency in Syracuse, you should discuss your situation with DeFrancisco & Falgiatano. We represent babies and their families throughout Upstate New York including in Rochester and Syracuse. We also provide medical malpractice representation in Utica, Auburn, Oswego, Elmira, Watertown, Binghamton, Lowville, Canandaigua, Cooperstown, Herkimer, Wampsville, Lyons, Ithaca and Oneida. Call DeFrancisco & Falgiatano at 315-479-9000 or contact us via our online form.

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"I cannot express in words what an awesome job Charlie Falgiatano and Jean Marie Westlake did in representing my family in my mother's case at trial. There can never be enough thank-yous." D.L., Cortland, NY
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Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
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