If a parent ignores a child’s birth defect and obtains no diagnosis/treatment, as an adult can the child sue the parent for neglect/abuse?

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If a parent ignores a child’s birth defect and obtains no diagnosis/treatment, as an adult can the child sue the parent for neglect/abuse?

If a child has a mild form of spina bifida and a parent never took their child to have it diagnosed, then refusedto accept it when it was finally diagnosed, it is this a form of neglect? Can the child, at age 33, then sue his father for neglect for never having his child diagnosed then refusing to consult with a doctor who has the proof? Still working on medical skeletal proof of the birth defect, X-rays soon might need a CATscan or further evidence to prove it IDK I had a doctor that diagnosed me as basicly “having no tailbone” but no one listened to him and it was when I was in grade school, so I no longer have the X-rays or can find this doctor. I am afraid a doctor will misdiagnose my condition now so late in life.

Asked on July 10, 2011 under Personal Injury, Alaska

Answers:

MD, Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First of all, the laws have truly changed since the time we were all younger, from medical diagnoses and privacy like HIPAA to even issues of early prevention and treatment. If you were not told of your diagnosis until just recently, you only became aware of it just recently, you might be able to sue the doctors who saw you growing up and perhaps your parents but the latter definitely has to be based on neglect. In other words, any one can sue anyone, but you would have to prove a nexus (cause and effect) between your father's inaction and your current state. If your father reasonably could not have known of your injury and you did not present any obvious signs of pain or discomfort, your father may not be liable. If you were diagnosed at an early age and your father refused you medical attention, then perhaps a lawsuit may arise but again, you would have be to aware of the injury for the statute of limitations to begin running. Consult a medical malpractice attorney to see which parties you might be able to sue and which would not be of benefit to you to sue.


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