Spina Bifida

Spina bifida is a condition that has an impact on the spine and is generally noticeable at birth. It is a kind of neural tube defect (NTD) that can occur at any point along the spine if the neural tube does not close completely. This frequently causes damage to the spinal cord and nerves.

The neural tube is the embryonic structure that forms into the baby’s brain, spinal cord and surrounding tissues. The neural tube usually develops during the early stages of pregnancy and closes by the 28th day following conception. In babies who suffer from spina bifida, a part of the neural tube does not develop or close correctly, thereby resulting in defects in the spinal cord and in the bones that comprise the spine.

Spina bifida can cause physical and intellectual disabilities that vary from mild to severe. The level of severity is dependent on:

  • The size and placement of the opening in the spine; and
  • Whether a portion of the spinal cord and nerves are altered.

Liability of doctors for spina bifida

Whenever possible, doctors have a duty to diagnose, prevent and treat spina bifida. However, they have been known to commit errors that increase the probability of the occurrence of the condition, or reduce the number of treatment options. For instance, some physicians may:

  • Fail to screen for spina bifida;
  • Fail to identify risk factors;
  • Fail to diagnose spina bifida;
  • Fail to educate expectant mothers about a prenatal vitamin regimen consisting of adequate folic acid;
  • Fail to give sound advice to pregnant women regarding healthy habits and good nutrition; or
  • Exhibit negligence by prescribing hazardous medications that could cause spina bifida or fail to issue warnings to those who are taking such drugs

If you think your doctor was negligent in failing to diagnose, prevent or treat your baby who has spina bifida, you may be able to file a lawsuit. Call the birth injury attorneys at Chalik & Chalik Injury Lawyers.

A History of Birth Injury Results

We have been fighting for victims of Florida birth injuries for decades.



Baby boy who suffered Erb’s Palsy



Child that suffered nerve injury



Baby girl who suffered Erb’s Palsy



Child birth with nerve damage



Symptoms of Spina Bifida

There are three principal kinds of spina bifida, the mildest of which is called spina bifida occulta.

Spina bifida occulta
This type of spina bifida is marked by a gap in one or more of the bones, or vertebrae, that make up the spine. Since the spinal nerves are not generally affected, the majority of children who are afflicted with this kind of spina bifida do not exhibit any symptoms, and do not have any neurological issues.

Spina bifida occulta can manifest itself on the skin above the spinal defect in a newborn in the following ways:

Several individuals who experience spina bifida are unaware that they have the condition unless it is detected as a result of an x-ray or other imaging test that is performed for reasons that are irrelevant to the defect.

Meningocele is a type of spina bifida that rarely occurs, and involves the protective membranes that surround the spinal cord, or meninges, that push through the gap in the vertebrae. Since the spinal cord forms normally, these membranes can be eliminated by surgery with little or no injury to the pathways of the nerves.

Myelomeningocele, which is also referred to as open spina bifida, is the most acute form of the condition, and the one to which people usually refer when they say “spina bifida.” In this form of spina bifida, the baby’s spinal cord stays open along many vertebrae in the lower and middle back. Due to this opening, both the spinal cord and the membranes extend out at the time of birth, causing a sac to develop on the baby’s back.

In some instances, skin covers the sac, but in most cases, tissues and nerves are uncovered, thus causing the baby to be susceptible to infections that can be fatal. There is frequently neurological damage, such as:

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