Birth Gone Wrong: The Difference Between a Birth Injury and a Birth Defect

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Birth Gone Wrong: The Difference Between a Birth Injury and a Birth Defect

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The birth of your baby should be a joyful time, but a birth injury or defect can change everything. About 3% of babies born in the United States each year suffer some kind of birth defect, which account for about 20% of infant deaths. Birth injuries, however, reportedly occur in fewer than 1% of births, though these statistics are approximate.

Birth Injuries vs. Birth Defects

Birth injuries occur during or shortly after the baby’s birth. These may include cartilage damage, broken bones, nerve damage, brain injuries, meconium aspiration syndrome, and more. Although these injuries may be caused by the baby’s birth position, most of them are preventable and caused by the actions of the medical professionals assisting in the birth.

Birth defects, on the other hand, are present prior to the baby’s birth. Defects may affect the nervous system, limb formation, brain development, or any other portion of the baby’s development. Some are caused by genes inherited from the parents, but many are caused by medications or other things consumed by or administered to the mother.

Determining Liability

If your child has suffered a birth injury or birth defect, you may be able to file a medical malpractice suit. This will require proving that the doctors, nurses, or other medical providers involved did not meet a responsible standard of care. This could include:

  • Failing to adequately monitor mother and/or baby before, during, and after birth
  • Prescribing the mother medication dangerous to the health of the baby
  • Utilizing methods or instruments which cause damage to the baby during delivery

You will need to be prepared to prove that these acts of negligence caused the birth injuries or defects. A medical expert can assist with this, as can your own detailed account of events, witness accounts, photographs of the injuries or defects, and any relevant medical testing and results.

Filing Your Suit

Once you determine that your medical provider is responsible for your baby’s birth injuries or defects, you will want to file a medical malpractice suit in order to collect compensation to help you pay for the related expenses. You must act quickly. Medical malpractice suits must be filed within two years of the injury or death. However, if it is later discovered that a foreign object was left in a person’s body after surgery, you have one year from the discovery to file suit.

Additionally, Georgia law requires that any medical malpractice suit filed be accompanied by an affidavit from a qualified medical expert who will testify that at least one negligent act occurred. This helps to prevent frivolous suits against medical professionals, but it can also increase the amount of time it will take you to prepare your suit for filing, so do not wait to contact an attorney who can help you locate a medical expert and get your claim filed.

Contact an Attorney

Medical malpractice is a serious issue. Contact the experienced attorneys at Jonathan R. Brockman, a Personal Injury Law Firm today to help you hold medical professionals accountable for their actions.

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