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Waukegan Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) has been a medical staple for decades. This type of scanning yields detailed images of a patient’s organs and other structures inside the body. They are often used to diagnose injuries and conditions in the head, abdomen, spine, chest, and blood vessels. In recent years, MRIs have become a popular way to diagnose another type of condition: birth injuries. Unlike x-rays and CT scans, MRIs do not use radiation. This makes them perfectly safe for pregnant women and their developing fetuses to undergo. An MRI can also provide a more detailed image than an ultrasound can provide, which is why they have become popular with obstetricians seeking concrete diagnoses of suspected developmental abnormalities and potential birth injuries. An early, accurate diagnosis can help a delivering physician avoid birth injuries in a newborn and help parents make important decisions regarding the safe, healthy delivery and care of their developmentally abnormal newborn. When a physician fails to make this type of critical diagnosis because he or she did not take necessary care to do so, he or she could be deemed negligent and liable for the patient’s medical malpractice damages.

Which Birth Injuries Can be Detected by an MRI?

A fetal MRI can detect the following conditions in a developing fetus:

  • Cerebral palsy;
  • Motor disorders;
  • Oxygen deprivation in the brain;
  • Seizure disorders; and
  • Congenital abnormalities such as heart defects and Down Syndrome.

How Does an MRI Work?

During an MRI scan, the patient is surrounded by an oscillating magnetic field, generally within an MRI scanning device while the patient lies on their back. The magnetic field causes the hydrogen atoms in the patient’s body to become excited and produce a radio frequency signal, which is recorded by a receiving coil. The coil is switched on and off at a rapid pace to obtain an image of the part of the patient’s body being scanned, which is shown by the contrast of the atoms as they return to their equilibrium state. In some cases, it is necessary to add contrast material to the patient’s body to provide a stronger image. An MRI scan can take anywhere from 15 to 90 minute to complete.

Should I Consider a Prenatal MRI?

It is relatively uncommon for an expectant mother to undergo an MRI to diagnose developmental abnormalities and injuries in her developing fetus. If your doctor requests that you undergo one, it is probably in your best interest to comply with the request. The MRI might find that you have nothing to worry about or it could determine that special care is necessary to protect your baby from suffering a severe injury. For example, your doctor might recommend a c-section delivery or bed rest for the remainder of your pregnancy based on the results of the MRI. If your doctor fails to recommend an MRI, ultrasound, or another type of test to determine his or her suspicion of possible complications with your pregnancy, he or she can miss a critical opportunity to take action and potentially be liable for your resulting damages. Talk to your doctor about your family history, and ask about any concerns he or she might have due to your age, health, or issues with your previous pregnancies.

Previously, MRIs were not often used to diagnose conditions in developing fetuses because in many hospitals, MRI equipment is located in an area far from the neonatal unit, potentially ensuing a difficult and dangerous trip for the mother. GE Technology recently developed a much smaller MRI device that can be used in neonatal units. Currently, the device is being tested in Sheffield, England and may one day be used in hospitals in the United States and other nations.

Work with an Experienced Waukegan Medical Malpractice Attorney

A birth injury can have permanent, life-changing repercussions for the infant and his or her family. If your child suffered a birth injury that could have been prevented through better prenatal screening and care, you can potentially receive compensation for your damages through a medical malpractice claim. To learn more about seeking compensation for your birth injury damages, contact our team of experienced Lake County medical malpractice attorneys at Salvi & Maher, L.L.C. today to set up your initial consultation with a member of our firm.

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