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Birth Injuries and Birth Defects – What’s The Difference?


The birth of a child is one of the happiest days in the lives of parents. However, for some, the joy can be replaced by sadness and distress if the infant suffers a medical problem. Many parents wonder whether an injury was caused by a mistake made by the doctor or whether the injury was not preventable. There are distinctions between a birth defect and a birth injury.

Birth Defects

Birth defects are generally medical issues that were present in the womb and were not a result of mistakes made during labor or delivery. Some of the most common birth defects include:

  •         Genetic Disorders
  •         Diseases
  •         Physical Abnormalities

Many birth defects can be diagnosed during pregnancy through the use of screening tests and diagnostic testing. Birth defects are usually not caused by a medical mistake and simply an unfortunate but unpreventable occurrence. Improved technology allows for the detection of birth defects before birth.

Birth Injuries

Birth injuries are medical problems that happen during the process of labor or delivery. A birth injury may be due to an unavoidable complication or because of a mistake made by the doctor or medical team. Birth injuries often happen because of difficulties with labor or delivery. The most common birth injuries include:

A birth injury is usually noted immediately, however, the full extent of the physical and cognitive damage may not be immediately known.

What to Do After a Birth Injury Occurs

If your baby was born with a medical problem the origination needs to be determined.  If the condition is a birth injury the doctor may be negligent. If the doctor did not take the necessary precautions to prevent the injury or made a mistake during labor or delivery, the injury may be considered medical malpractice. Parents should consult with a qualified attorney who will investigate the situation and determine whether the family should proceed with a claim.

Treatment of Birth Injuries

The treatment of birth injuries depends on the severity of the condition. Some minor injuries will heal relatively quickly and the child will not suffer permanent damage. More serious injuries need extensive treatment which may include surgery. Severe injuries may leave the child with permanent cognitive or physical disabilities that may require lifelong treatment and care.

Medical Negligence in Birth Injuries

Families experience a great deal of mental anguish when their child suffers a birth injury, but they also suffer financial loss. Medical treatment is extremely expensive and insurance normally does not cover all of the costs. If medical malpractice caused the injury, the responsible doctor should be held liable for the damages. When medical negligence happens the results can be devastating and lifelong. Parents need to seek legal help to attain the compensation they deserve.

If your infant was injured at birth, call the compassionate legal team at Levin & Perconti to schedule a consultation.

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