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Legal action for birth defects is different than birth injuries

On Behalf of | Aug 19, 2019 | Birth injury

Many parents in New Jersey are relieved once the baby is delivered safely after nine hard months of pregnancy, but it may not take long before a medical emergency occurs. For some, bigger problems arise once the baby comes out. The doctors may come across a physical oddity or notice that the newborn has a hard time breathing or functioning. Before the parents know it, the child they were looking forward to raising now must deal with a lifelong disability.

While some parents may be quick to blame the doctors delivering the child for birth injuries, that’s not always the case. Several of these conditions are known as birth defects, which means that something went wrong during the fetus development. According to the CDC, birth defects are the leading cause of infant deaths in the U.S. and affect one out of every 33 babies. Parents should know which conditions qualify as defects and who is liable for their child’s medical issues.

Examples of defects

Most damages inflicted by birth injuries are fairly visible right away either in the baby’s physical appearance or movements. Common birth injuries include brain damage, broken bones or some form of paralysis. If a doctor or a spouse warns you of any complications that occurred during the delivery, it won’t take too long to notice how it affects your child.

While there are plenty of external symptoms of defects, many conditions are often internal and directly affects the baby’s blood, heart or behavior. Some of the most common examples include:

  • Anotia
  • Anencephaly
  • Anophthalmia
  • Atrioventricular septal defect
  • Cleft lip and palate
  • Down syndrome
  • Gastroschisis
  • Rectal and large intestinal atresia
  • Reduction deformity
  • Tetralogy of Fallot

Different legal approaches

It’s crucial to know the difference between birth defects and birth injuries because that affects who is liable for the baby’s condition. If it is a birth injury, then the doctors that delivered the baby are responsible for damage. If it is a birth defect, then that will depend on who was the true source of the problem.

Many defects come as a result of a mother’s poor lifestyle choices during her pregnancy. Drinking, smoking and becoming morbidly obese drastically increase the chances of a defect happening. There could also be an unfortunate family history that passes down some unlucky genetic traits.

But the mother isn’t the one to blame all of the time. Numerous defects have occurred as a result of pharmacists recommending the wrong prescription drug to the mother during the gestation. If the doctors discover that prescription drugs are directly tied to the child’s condition and the mother was doing exactly what the pharmacist told her, then they are liable for medical malpractice.

Whether your child suffers from a birth injury or defect, make sure you know the right legal team that can help you earn compensation for someone’s critical mistake.