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Was Child's Leukemia Caused by X-Rays During Pregnancy?

This inquiry came via email. While pregnant, this mother went to a chiropractor for back pain. She was concerned about going to a “medical doctor” (M.D.) because she did not want to be prescribed medication for fear that it would damage her unborn baby. The chiropractor, with full knowledge of her pregnancy, gave her a series of x-rays. When her son was 7 months old he was diagnosed with leukemia (juvenile myelomonocytic) and had to spend many months in treatment. Within months the child had to receive a bone marrow transplant. Although the diagnosis was in 2011 and the treatment was primarily in 2011 and the beginning of 2012, the child is still recovering and his prognosis is unknown. The most important concern in evaluating this case has to do with the concept of “causation”. If this patient’s positions confirm that it is medically likely that the child’s leukemia was a result of the x-rays, then this family should engage an attorney (who will in turn engage one or more physicians) to evaluate the medical malpractice allegations. If the child’s treating doctors do not believe the x-rays resulted in the leukemia, it is likely that the family will have difficulty in getting an attorney to pursue this case. There is certainly a middle ground; when the subsequent treating doctors are unwilling to take a position or only will discuss what “possibilities” exist, it is between the patient and attorneys to determine whether or not it is worth the expense and time associated with asking an expert witness to evaluate a potential claim. Medical malpractice in Kentucky cannot move forward based upon possibilities of negligence. Rather, negligence and “causation” have to be medically likely.
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