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Birth Injury vs. Birth Defect

On Behalf of | May 10, 2016 | Birth Injury

Birth defects and birth injuries are not one in the same, but many people mistakenly believe they refer to the same conditions and that both are actionable under the law.

The Chicago birth injury attorneys at Power Rogers understand the differences between a birth injury and a birth defect. While the two sound similar, they are not when it comes to determining the viability of a lawsuit. Below, we outline the difference between birth injuries and birth defects. This can give you have a better understanding of the damages sustained by the baby, what may have caused it, and what you can do to take legal action.

Birth Injury

A birth injury is caused by some kind of physical harm or dangerous circumstance. These types of injuries often occur as a result of a problem just prior to, during, or immediately following birth. There are several causes of birth injuries, all of which can have a serious impact on the baby or mother.

Some causes of birth injuries include:

  • Improper use of forceps or vacuum – If the doctor has trouble during the delivery process, they may consider using forceps or a vacuum device to help. These mechanisms are used to aid the pushing process by pulling on the baby. If used with too much pressure, or when the baby is at an improper position within the birth canal, they can cause serious injury to the baby’s head, neck, or shoulders.
  • Umbilical cord strangulation – The umbilical cord is the lifeline of the baby during pregnancy. Unfortunately, it can also cause serious problems if the umbilical cord wraps around the baby’s neck and causes strangulation. This can result in loss of oxygen (hypoxia) which is often the source of long-term damage such as cerebral palsy or brain damage. If the umbilical cord becomes problematic, a doctor should perform a caesarian section or perform other interventions to restore oxygen flow to the baby.
  • Prolonged delivery – The doctor is supposed to monitor the baby for fetal distress throughout the pregnancy and through delivery. If they fail to do so, they may miss a potential danger that would require an emergency delivery. A prolonged delivery can lead to infection, injury to the baby or mother, if the condition is allowed to continue long enough.

Birth injuries are very serious and there are often multiple individuals responsible for intervening with a circumstance occurs that could lead to a birth injury. It is important to know what other types of injuries typically occur as a result of negligence actions or omissions on the parts of doctors, nurses and hospitals, and what can cause them.

Birth Defects

Birth defects develop prior to birth and are often considered genetic abnormalities. Sometimes, these conditions run in the family. However, there are other causes of birth defects that are the result of negligence and can affect the long-term health or physical appearance of the child. Some medications have been linked to cause conditions such as cleft lip, Down syndrome, congenital heart problems, and spina bifida.

Several of the medications that have been linked to birth defects are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. In 2006, these SSRIs were labeled as possibly dangerous to babies during pregnancy by the United States Food and Drug Administration. According to studies, an estimated 120,000 babies each year are born with some kind of birth defect.

Whether your baby was born with a birth defect caused by unsafe medication or a doctor’s negligence resulted in a birth injury, our firm can fight for you. These types of cases are very serious and require skilled legal professionals to seek compensation for the damages sustained. Call our firm today and learn what options you may have and how our Chicago birth injury attorneys may be able to help you.

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