Zevan and Davidson Law Firm Articles The Difference Between a Preventable Birth Injury and a Birth Defect

The Difference Between a Preventable Birth Injury and a Birth Defect

By David Zevan  Feb. 10, 2015 10:17a

For the majority of pregnancies and births, expectant parents are blessed with a healthy baby who has a bright future ahead.

Unfortunately, there are cases when something goes wrong, and a baby is born facing a lifetime of physical and mental challenges. These types of complications are sometimes unavoidable, such as with genetically determined birth defects, while other complications are the result of the negligence of an attending physician. If you are unsure about your situation, speak with a qualified St. Louis birth injury attorney about the possibility of receiving compensation to help with the care of your child.

Detecting Birth Defects

A birth defect differs from a birth injury in a number of ways, but that differentiation is not always immediately apparent. A birth defect happens inside of the womb while the fetus is developing. It could be an unpreventable chromosomal disorder, a congenital defect, or the reaction to exposure to drugs or X-rays during pregnancy. Ultrasound and amniocentesis are all used to detect these types of defects, while neonatal surgery may be able to correct some of them.

Medical Negligence Resulting in Birth Injuries

The health of a newborn baby is dependent on both the care received during the pregnancy and the labor and delivery. There are certain conditions that can arise during pregnancy, that if not treated properly, will affect the baby’s health. Maternal illness, such as diabetes and pre-eclampsia, may cause harm to the baby. Not checking for certain congenital defects during the pregnancy may be considered negligent, especially when the parents present certain risk factors, such as older expectant mothers.

Labor and delivery complications may cause different types of injury to a baby. A labor that is drawn out may put undue stress on the infant, depriving him or her of oxygen. If oxygen deprivation continues without any intervention, irreversible brain damage can occur. If the standard of care was deviated from, then the attending medical staff could be found at fault for the brain injury.

Case Study - Forceful Use of Forceps

Birth injuries affect 5 out of every 1,000 newborn infants. Birth injuries include bruising or shoulder displacement by the improper use of forceps, while other birth injuries include permanent brain injuries, such as cerebral palsy, resulting from a lack of oxygen during the birth process. It was an overly forceful use of forceps that fractured the skull of a baby born in a Missouri hospital. He was revived after 30 minutes, but that time spent without oxygen left him with permanent disabilities. The parents filed a claim on the baby’s behalf, which the hospital settled for $1.7 million.

At times, both birth defects and birth injuries can be successfully treated with proper medical intervention. If you believe that the obstetricians involved in your pregnancy or labor may have made an error that resulted in injury to your infant, a St. Louis birth injury attorney has the experience needed to examine your case and determine if negligence was the underlying cause for your baby’s suffering. Call Zevan and Davidson Law Firm, LLC at (314) 588-7200 for a free case evaluation.

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