The Difference Between a Birth Injury and a Birth Defect

Expectant parents anxiously await the birth of their child, and thankfully, deliveries usually go smoothly and they are blessed with a healthy bundle of joy.

holding-hands-with-babySadly, there are complications that may arise during the pregnancy and even the birth that can cause injury to the baby. It is important to differentiate between an injury that was pre-determined at conception and one that was avoidable. In cases where a physician’s negligence adversely affected the quality of life for a newborn, a Missouri medical malpractice attorney should be retained in order to ensure that the child and his parent’s lawful rights are protected.

Unnecessary Suffering

Medical malpractice in obstetric medicine usually comes down to one of two scenarios. Either the doctor did not properly diagnose or treat a condition during the pregnancy, or he misread distress signs during labor causing undue harm to the infant. In the first case, the physician may not only ignore certain illness in the mother like pre-eclampsia, but he may also fail to test for congenital defects in the infant. In the second scenario, a labor that is drawn out for too long can deprive the baby of oxygen causing irreversible brain damage. In either case, the doctor involved failed to follow the standard of care, and the baby has suffered unnecessarily as a result.

Difficulty Determining the Cause

With a newborn baby it may be difficult to determine at first whether the injury is a birth defect or a birth injury. A defect occurs inside the womb, either during conception or the formation of a developing fetus. Some are genetic, while others can be caused by outside factors like exposure to X-rays or certain drugs. A birth injury affects 5 out of every 1000 babies during labor or delivery. They can range from bruising by improper use of forceps, to permanent brain damage from lack of oxygen. Not every injury is an instant claim for medical malpractice. Some injuries or defects are unavoidable, despite a doctor’s best efforts. If you have any doubts, it is best to seek advice from a Missouri medical malpractice attorney who has experience in cases involving newborn babies.

An aggressive use of forceps fractured the skull of a Missouri infant, and caused him to enter the world with no pulse and not breathing. It took over half an hour to revive him, but that time spent without oxygen has left him permanently disabled. The doctor and hospital in this case settled with the parents for $1.7 million dollars.

The Use of Medications

While some birth defects are caused by faulty genetics, others may be brought on by outside events such as the use of medications. One of the most widely known examples of this is the tragedy that occurred in the early 1960’s with a drug called thalidomide. Sold over the counter as an anti-morning sickness remedy, over 10,000 babies were born with deformed or no limbs to mothers who had taken the drug during their pregnancy. This tragedy was the catalyst responsible for the careful monitoring and testing of all new drugs that we are familiar with today.

Recovering Damages

In order for you to recover damages from a birth injury or defect, you will have to be able to prove that it was the result of medical providers failing to give medical care and advice in line with the accepted standards. This is not an easy task.  Please contact Zevan and Davidson Law Firm LLC at (314) 588-7200 for assistance.

Photo credit:  storyvillegirl

Missouri Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you have suffered as a result of medical malpractice, contact our legal team right away. Waiting to seek legal representation can prevent you from filing a claim and receiving the compensation you deserve.

Contact Zevan Murphy today.

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