There’s a great deal of stress involved in the birth of a child, especially when something goes wrong. When there are complications due to a difficult pregnancy or birth, parents often wonder if there was anything that could have been done to prevent the problem. When dealing with a baby who has suffered complications during or after birth, the terms birth defect and birth injury seem to be used interchangeably. These terms have very different meanings, and there are significant differences between the causes of birth defects and birth injuries.
What is a birth defect?
A birth defect is a developmental abnormality or congenital condition that forms during pregnancy before the baby is born. Many birth defects are unavoidable and result from inheritable genetic conditions which affect a baby’s DNA. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 3% of the babies born in the United States have birth defects. Examples of birth defects include:
- Down Syndrome
- Spina bifida
- Cleft palate
- Heart abnormality
In some rare cases, a birth defect can result from a medical professional or pharmaceutical company’s failure to warn mothers of possible birth defects resulting from the use of medication. In addition, certain birth defects can be detected early during pregnancy, and medical professionals can be negligent in failing to order testing and not adhering to the appropriate standard of care.
What is a birth injury?
A birth injury is one that occurs immediately before, during, or immediately after the birth of a child. Birth injuries, unlike birth defects, are often preventable depending on the circumstances of the birth. Common birth injuries include:
- Bone fractures
- Cerebral palsy
- Erb’s palsy
- Joint dislocations
- Brain damage
Birth injuries are frequently the result of negligence on the part of a medical professional during labor and delivery. The most commonly cited causes of birth injuries include:
- Mishandling the baby during delivery by not properly and carefully turning and manipulating
- Failure to adequately monitor the baby for signs of distress during labor
- Improper use of assistive devices such as vacuum extraction systems and forceps
- Waiting too long or failing to perform a Caesarian section when necessary
While mistakes can be made, there is never an excuse for medical negligence and deviations from the standard of care.
If your child has sustained a birth injury or suffers from a birth defect as the result of someone’s negligence, you should have an attorney evaluate your case. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have over 50 years of experience helping New Yorkers dealing with the devastating effects of birth injuries. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español