Birth Injuries May or May Not Be a Result of Medical Malpractice

Birth injury is not something any parent wants to imagine let alone experience. Some birth injuries occur due to medical errors and others do not.

What is a birth injury? How is it different from a birth defect?

Birth injury refers to an injury that an infant experiences during birth. Injury can occur during labor or delivery.

Medicine.net defines a birth defect as any defect present in a baby at birth, irrespective of whether the defect is caused by a genetic factor or by prenatal events that are not genetic. Examples are a cleft palate, defective heart or Down syndrome. Environmentally induced causes, such as drugs or medication can lead to birth defects.

Statistics indicate that one out of five babies who die at birth have a birth defect.

What can cause a birth injury?

Factors that can cause birth injuries include:

  • Prolonged labor
  • Premature birth
  • Babies weighing over 8 pounds
  • Abnormal fetal position at birth
  • Oxygen deprivation
  • Bone fractures
  • Difficult birth resulting in Bell’s palsy
  • Difficult birth resulting in Brachial Plexus Injury (damage to the nerve network connecting to baby’s arms and hands)

When are medical practitioners liable for birth injuries or birth defects?

A doctor may be subject to a medical malpractice lawsuit when the treatment or practices do not follow established medical standards and they result in harming the baby. An example is prescribing medication during pregnancy that have known potential side effects that could harm the baby and not warning the mother or making her aware of the fact. Another example would be failing to perform a timely C-section when discovering the baby is in fetal distress.

An attorney must prove that the medical practitioner failed to provide the mother or baby with proper medical care during pregnancy or delivery. Access to expert witnesses who can provide testimony about standards of care violations is vital in a medical malpractice case.

If you have concerns that a birth injure resulted from medical malpractice, our attorneys at Sackstein Sackstein & Lee, LLP can advise you.