Thalassemia, sometimes called Mediterranean anemia, is a group of genetic blood disorders characterized by a defective gene that inhibits the production of hemoglobin, a vital component of the blood responsible for the transport of oxygen into the body and removal of waste carbon dioxide. If the body cannot produce appropriate hemoglobin, the result is anemia: the blood’s inability to provide enough oxygen for the body to function. In its mildest form, this anemia may reduce a person’s ability to perform athletics or other strenuous activities. In more severe forms, the disease is life-threatening and sufferers may require regular blood transfusions to stay alive.
Because thalassemia is a genetic disorder, the birth of a thalassemic child can be prevented by simple blood testing of parents, which can tell whether one or both parents suffer from the disease. These blood tests should be offered as part of pre-conception (or at least pre-birth) counseling of future parents. These blood tests would give prospective parents the information they needed to prepare for life with an afflicted child.
It is not your doctor’s place to tell you how to conduct your life or to make a decision about the future of your family. But it is your doctor’s place to make sure you have all the information necessary to make an informed decision. If your doctor failed to do this, you have a legitimate claim that the doctor is guilty of medical malpractice.
If your doctor gave you misleading or incomplete information that made you unable to plan for the birth of your child with a detectable genetic disorder like thalassemia, schedule a wrongful birth consultation with the New Jersey medical malpractice lawyers at Weiss & Paarz, P.C.