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Spina Bifida Awareness Month

October is Spina Bifida awareness month, a time to show our support for the many people suffering from the condition.

What are the Types of Spina Bifida?

There are many types of Spina Bifida and associated complications:

  • Spina Bifida Occulta
  • Meningocele
  • Myelomeningocele
  • Hydrocephalus
  • Chiari Malformation
  • Tethered Spinal Cord
  • Orthopedic Conditions
  • Bladder and Bowel Problems

What is Tethered Spinal Cord Syndrome?

Tethered spinal cord syndrome is a neurologic disorder caused by tissue attachments that limit the movement of the spinal cord within the spinal column.

The condition mostly happens in children because it occurs during their development in the womb. Other causes can be spinal surgery or trauma. Problems can emerge because the nerves controlling body parts are attached to this tissue and get stretched. With growth, the nerves stretch more, blood supply is reduced, and this can harm the parts of the body they connect to.

Medical Negligence and Spina Bifida

Being born with a tethered spinal cord is not generally linked to medical negligence, occasionally doctors may not diagnosis the condition as soon as they should which can lead to long lasting effects on the child.

When doctors correctly identify the clues that a baby may have a tethered spinal cord they generally investigate them further. Where a baby has a tethered spinal cord it will be regularly reviewed by neurosurgeons and urologists so if they develop any problems in their development they can arrange for them to have surgery to de-tether the cord.

Early Diagnosis

An early diagnosis of a tethered spinal cord is important because it gives surgeons the opportunity to monitor development, to observe any symptoms early on and the chance to de-tether the nerves which can prevent any further deterioration.

Delay in diagnosis can lead to lasting damage caused to the nerves surrounding the spinal cord which cannot be reversed. At this point de-tethering the cord can still leave a child with lifelong disabilities.

Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland

Spina Bifida Hydrocephalus Ireland (“SBHI”) are an organisation which helps people with Spina Bifida and their families. Their aim is to foster an environment in which every person affected by Spina Bifida and hydrocephalus can lead a fulfilled life.

Further Information  

For further information on making a claim following Medical Negligence relating to a diagnosis of Spina Bifida, please contact Lavelle Partners in confidence on (01) 644 5800 or email Avril Scally at ascally@lavellepartners.ie

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