What you should know about fetoscopic surgery medical malpractice

When Painter Law Firm handles a medical malpractice or wrongful death case involving a surgery, we investigate whether the hospital or surgical facility has any video records of what happened in the operating room.

As a former hospital administrator, I know that many surgeries are now video recorded. In fact, some endoscopes and surgical equipment used in laparoscopic or keyhole procedures are fitted with video cameras that allow everything going on inside the patient’s body to be recorded and preserved.

 Fetoscopic surgery

Fetoscopic surgery is a new type of surgery that’s becoming more common for unborn babies with certain conditions. It’s similar to other types of minimally-invasive surgeries, except the patient is the fetus, or unborn baby. The name “fetoscopic” gives it away. The patient is an unborn baby, or fetus, and the surgery is carried out laparoscopically with a specialized instrument called a fetoscope.

Houston area hospitals like Children's Memorial Hermann and Texas Children's Hospital offer this type of surgery. Fetoscopic surgery is used to treat different types of conditions, including congenital diaphragmatic hernias, amniotic band syndrome, spina bifida, bladder outlet obstructions, and twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome.

On the one hand, it’s impressive that medical technology has advanced to the point that these types of surgeries are even conceivable. On the other hand, surgeons performing them still need proper training and must perform them competently to avoid injuring the baby.

From a medical malpractice standpoint, fetoscopic surgeries present some challenges, because any baby requiring an intra-uterine surgery before birth has some serious and challenging medical issues. However, practically all fetoscopic surgeries are digitally recorded, which provides an unparalleled source of evidence for investigating when something goes wrong.

And when something goes wrong during fetoscopic surgery, it can go very wrong. A surgeon’s medical malpractice during a fetoscopic surgery can cause injuries like a lack of oxygen to the brain (hypoxia), which can lead to cerebral palsy or brain damage.

For example, twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome (TTTS) is the most common fetoscopic surgery. In TTTS, identical twins share a placenta, but one twin gets too much blood flow and the other one doesn’t get enough. To fix this, surgeons use a scope equipped with a special laser that allows them to coagulate and collapse blood vessels to re-distribute the blood flow. If the surgeon misses the targeted blood vessel, the laser can damage an unintended body part, which can cut off oxygen to the baby or even cause death.

We are here to help

Parents who are expecting a baby who needs a fetoscopic surgery sometimes don’t consider the possibility of medical malpractice when something goes wrong. It’s easy to think that an injury to or death of the baby must simply be related to their high-risk pregnancy.

While sometimes that is true, in other cases surgical negligence is to blame. Considering that virtually all fetoscopic surgeries are digitally recorded, an experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help get to the bottom of what really happened.

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured because of poor surgical, medical, emergency room (ER), or hospital care, then the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Painter Law Firm, in Houston, Texas, are here to help. Click here to send us a confidential email via our “Contact Us” form or call us at 281-580-8800.

All consultations are free, and, because we only represent clients on a contingency fee, you will owe us nothing unless we win your case. We handle cases in the Houston area and all over Texas. We are currently working on medical malpractice lawsuits in Houston, The Woodlands, Sugar Land, Conroe, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Bryan/College Station, and Waco.


Robert Painter is a medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm PLLC, in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits against hospitals, physicians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other healthcare providers. A member of the board of directors of the Houston Bar Association, he was honored, in 2018, by H Texas as one of Houston’s top lawyers. Also, in 2018, the Better Business Bureau recognized Painter Law Firm PLLC with its Award of Distinction.

Robert Painter
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Robert Painter

Robert Painter is an award-winning medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits all over Texas. Contact him for a free consultation and strategy session by calling 281-580-8800 or emailing him right now.