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Can my Baby’sHip Dysplasia be a Result of Medical Negligence?

Published on March 18th, 2018

Can my Baby’s Diagnosis of Congenital Hip Dysplasia be a Result of Medical Negligence?

Q: What is congenital hip dysplasia?

A: Congenital hip dysplasia, also known as developmental dysplasia of the hip, is a disorder in which the hip joint is not normally formed in the newborn. The hip joint is a typical “ball-in-socket” joint, and normally, the ball of bone at the upper end of the femur (thighbone) articulates firmly into its socket in the pelvis bone. In congenital hip dysplasia, this joint is loose and therefore prone to dislocation, which when present at such a young age can result in significant difficulties later in life.

Q: What causes congenital hip dysplasia?

A: In the majority congenital hip dysplasia diagnoses, the cause is unknown. However, there has been evidence to show that this condition runs in families, so there is likely a genetic component. The condition is more common in females, but any infant can have the condition. Furthermore, several environmental factors have also been associated, including the following:

– Low levels of amniotic fluid in the womb

– Breech presentation during childbirth (baby is born bottom-first)

– Delayed childbirth following the rupture of membranes (“water break”)

– Overly tight swaddling of the baby in an unfavorable anatomic position

Q: How is congenital hip dysplasia diagnosed?

A: This condition is usually a clinical diagnosis, meaning a proper physical exam can tip a competent physician to the possibility of this condition. Once suspected, various forms of imaging can confirm the diagnosis and aid in its proper treatment. Here are some signs and symptoms to look for:

– One leg that turns outward, dissimilar from the opposing side

– Limited range of motion, often unilaterally

– The classic “gluteal fold” – a fold or folds on legs and buttocks that are uneven when legs are extended

– Delayed motor development, often identified on well-child visits to pediatricians, where proper growth milestones such as sitting, crawling, and walking are not adequately met

The hallmark physical exam maneuvers to make the diagnosis are the Barlow and Ortolani tests.

– In the Barlow test, the physician applies a downward force as the child’s hip adducts, or moves toward the body

– In the Ortolani test, the physician applies upward force as the child’s hip abducts, or moves away from the body

Clicking or clunking sounds during these maneuvers suggests an unstable hip socket, and can tip the physician to the possibility of congenital hip dysplasia. From there, X-rays or ultrasound exams (depending on the age of the baby) can be implemented to confirm the diagnosis.

Q: How can I tell if I have a legitimate medical malpractice case for my infant’s diagnosis of congenital hip dysplasia?

A: If you believe your infant or child’s diagnosis of congenital hip dysplasia was missed, delayed, or even caused as a result of medical negligence, your first step in assessing whether or not you have a case is contacting an experienced lawyer such as the Personal Injury Lawyer Miami Fl locals turn to.


Thanks to authors at Law Offices of Needle & Ellenberg, P.A. for insight into Personal Injury Law.

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