When a child is born with an injury or illness, parents are rightfully concerned. This can mean additional medical procedures or even temporary or long-term disabilities for the child. However, it is important to understand the difference between a birth injury and a birth defect. Birth injuries often lead to medical malpractice claims, so we want to make sure you understand how a birth injury differs from a defect because this can impact your family’s ability to recover compensation.
Birth defects are not uncommon, affecting approximately one out of every 33 babies born in the US every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Birth defects are defined as “structural changes present at birth,” and they can affect nearly any part of a baby’s body. Birth defects can affect how a child looks as well as their physical mobility, or both. Birth defects can range from relatively mild to severe.
A birth defect is typically beyond anyone’s control. These defects are typically genetic, not caused by the actions of any outside individual or stimuli. However, birth defects can also be caused by unhealthy activities of a mother during pregnancy as well as certain medications a mother may use during pregnancy.
Birth injuries occur during the labor and delivery process and are often referred to as birth trauma. Birth injuries can occur in a wide variety of ways, both due to factors beyond anyone’s control as well as mistakes made by labor and delivery medical professionals. Birth injuries are more common when a baby is large or when the baby is not in the head-first position coming out of the birth canal. These injuries are also more likely to occur for babies born prematurely and when the labor is particularly difficult.
Birth injuries can also occur due to the negligent actions of medical professionals involved in labor and delivery. This can include the misuse of birth assistance devices such as vacuums and forceps. Additionally, these injuries are more likely to occur if the medical professionals involved fail to adequately monitor a mother’s and fetus’s vital signs before, during, and immediately after the delivery. In many cases, birth injuries occur because the delivery team failed to initiate a C-section when one was warranted due to the conditions of the labor or the vital signs of the mother and fetus.
If your child has sustained a birth injury or lost their life as a result of the negligent actions of a medical professional, we encourage you to contact an attorney immediately. These cases are complex, but they are important. Your family deserves closure, and we want to help. A birth injury lawyer in Louisville can help you through this process, working to determine the best steps moving forward for your particular situation.
If your birth injury claim is successful, your family may be able to recover various types of compensation. This can include coverage of current and ongoing medical care, including any long-term care needed due to a birth injury that affects the development of the child.