Birth Injury or Birth Defect: What is the Difference?

Perhaps the most pressing concern for every parent expecting the birth of a child in Nevada is that he or she will be born healthy. While there are many families that are lucky enough to have this happy result, other families face a different reality. Indeed, children are born with birth defects and birth injuries in the United States on a daily basis. While these medical conditions sound similar, there are differences between the two. Distinguishing one from the other is key to determining whether or not a parent is able to file a Nevada medical malpractice claim related to the child’s birth. Keep reading below to learn more about the differences between birth defects and birth injuries.

Birth Defects Explained

A birth defect occurs and develops while the baby is still in his or her mother’s womb. It is not uncommon for birth defects to be discovered during the mother’s pregnancy. That being said, sometimes birth defects are not discovered until after the child’s birth. Unlike birth injuries, a birth defect is typically unavoidable. They are often caused by genetic abnormalities although sometimes use of medications, alcohol, or drugs could be the cause of the defect.

While most birth defects affect the baby’s nervous system, they can also affect any other part of the child’s brain or body. The most severe cases of birth defects, however, do involve the nervous system. Examples of birth defects include spina bifida, cleft palates, fetal alcohol syndrome, club foot, and heart problems to name a few. While most birth defects are not preventable medical issues, in some rare cases it can be shown that medical negligence could be to blame.

Birth Injuries Explained

Birth injuries, on the other hand, typically occur during the delivery process in child birth. Out of the approximately 4.3 million child births in the United States, 157,700 moms and babies sustain injuries that were avoidable. Birth injuries, like any other injury, can range from minor to severe. Birth injuries often happen when medical professionals fail to properly monitor the mother’s labor, do not properly observe fetal distress signs, or use excessive force to deliver the baby.

Common birth injuries include Cerebral, Klumpke’s, or Erb’s palsy; brachial plexus injuries; paralysis; shoulder dystocia; bone fractures, and subconjunctival hemorrhages.

Unlike typically unavoidable birth defects, birth injuries are generally caused by a failure in the medical provider’s case. This may include failure to notice medical complications, delayed action by the medical professional, improper use of delivery assistance tools, forceful delivery or other negligent actions. Moreover, some birth injuries are not immediately noticeable to parents. This is because an injury may not been realized until the child fails to meet his or her developmental milestones like crawling, walking, or speaking. Although not all birth injuries are permanently disabling or life-threatening, some of them are. For this reason, parents should be observant of their children and get any medical issues addressed immediately.

Las Vegas Attorneys

Contact the skilled personal injury attorneys at Parry & Pfau for help if you or someone you know has been injured in Las Vegas. These lawyers have years of experience representing the injured across Nevada.

(image courtesy of Janko Ferlic)