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What Is the Difference Between Birth Injuries and Birth Defects?

Understanding Your Rights If Your Child Was Born with a Health Condition or Injury

While often used interchangeably, the terms birth injury and birth defect have two different meanings. In a legal claim, it is critical to understand the difference between the two conditions and whether they will result in liability. If your child was diagnosed with a serious health problem after birth, you should consult with an attorney to determine whether you should file a claim for damages.

At Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC, we represent families who have sustained harm as a result of a medical provider’s negligence, such as misdiagnosis. Birth injury claims can help provide compensation for your child’s medical bills and future treatment, ensuring that they receive the best care available. If you believe your child suffered an injury due to medical malpractice, contact our office at (888) 367-7160 for a free consultation. 

What Is a Birth Defect?

A birth defect is a congenital condition that a child has at birth. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that a child is born with a birth defect every 4 ½ minutes. Congenital birth defects affect approximately 1 in 33 babies or around 130,000 infants each year.

Congenital disabilities range in severity. In some cases, a congenital defect may have little impact on a child’s life. In other cases, they can be life-threatening. Birth defects can occur at any point during pregnancy, but most happen within the first trimester. While some defects are caused by genetics or chromosomal abnormalities, others have no known cause.

What Is a Birth Injury?

Birth injuries, unlike birth defects, are not caused by genetics. Birth injuries are usually the result of some sort of trauma immediate before, during, or after labor. Depending on the situation, a birth injury may be preventable, caused by medical malpractice.

Common injuries and conditions caused by trauma during labor and delivery:

  • Head and skull fractures
  • Erb’s palsy
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE)
  • Intracranial hemorrhage
  • Facial paralysis
  • Cephalohematoma
  • Perinatal asphyxia

It is important to discuss your case with an experienced attorney. An attorney can help determine whether you have a valid claim for damages based on your child’s birth injury. 

Liability in a Birth Injury or Birth Defect Case

When a healthcare provider fails to provide a reasonable standard of care, resulting in harm to your child, it can result in liability. This includes a doctor’s failure to diagnose and treat a serious birth defect or failure to monitor for fetal distress resulting in a birth injury. 

It is important to note that not all birth injuries or birth defects will result in liability. In some cases, the condition is unpreventable, or there is no known cause. A lawyer can help you understand your rights and whether you and your child are entitled to compensation.

Hiring a Houston Birth Injury Lawyer

Get the justice you deserve today by calling our award-winning legal team. At Bailey Cowan Heckaman PLLC, we have over 150 years of combined experience helping people injured because of another person’s negligence or wrongdoing. If your child sustained harm due to a healthcare provider’s malpractice, contact our office at (888) 367-7160 for a free consultation.

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