January is National Birth Defect Prevention Month. It is a time to bring awareness about the common causes of birth defects, but also steps parents and healthcare providers can take to reduce the number of infants born each year with birth defects.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every 4.5 minutes in the United States an infant is born with a birth defect. That comes out to 120,000 birth defects each year. Sadly, birth defects are common and 1 out of 33 infants are born with some type of defect.
A defect is any structural change at birth or during development that affects the infant, such as a disability, brain, heart, or other organ failure. A child’s well-being and lifespan are affected by these defects.
Birth defects are common and they are structural or functional abnormalities present at birth. Sometimes these defects can be detected before the baby is born, while other times it takes years after the birth to realize that a defect is present. Sadly, defects are the leading cause of death in infants before they reach their first birthday.
Birth defects are typically caused by genetic issues, including chromosomal errors, but they can also be influenced by environmental factors and medical negligence.
A defect is an abnormality that can be fatal in some cases. Researchers have found thousands of various types of defects, and they are the leading cause of death in infants.
Currently, these thousands of defects are categorized into two main types: functional and structural.
A structural defect is one that affects the infant’s body parts. These can include physical abnormalities such as a left lip or palate. Other times they affect organs, such as a heart defect, missing valves, limb disfigurement, or a club foot. Some defects can be corrected through surgery, while others are not correctable.
Another type of structural defect is neural tube defects, which include spina bifida. These issues affect the child’s brain and spinal cord development and occur during fetal stages.
Functional defects affect how the body or system component works. These can lead to developmental delays or premature deaths.
Some functional defects that are common in the United States include, but are not limited to:
Birth defects come from various sources, but typically result from genetics, lifestyle choices of the pregnant mother, infection, exposure from chemicals or mediations, or a combination of these issues.
Genetic defects are one of the more common causes of a birth defect, and these can come from the mother or father. The abnormalities are passed onto the unborn child, and in come cases a gene may be missing or flawed at the time of conception. A defect could be in the family history or just from one parent.
Non-genetic defects are those that arise outside of heredity. For example, a mother’s lifestyle choices like drinking, smoking, or using recreational drugs could lead to a defect – and these defects are preventable.
Other times a patient could be prescribed a medication that is unsafe during pregnancy, which in turn leads to a defect.
Infections are another source of non-genetic defects. Sometimes when a mother has a serious infection that is untreated it can affect the infant’s development.
Pregnant women all carry a risk of having a baby with a birth defect, but there are certain actions and risk factors that may increase the likelihood of this occurring. Some conditions that can increase the risk of a baby with birth defects born include:
Not all birth defects are malpractice. But when an infant is born with a medical defect because the mother’s physician failed to disclose, diagnose, or treat ailments – the parents of that infant may be able to file a lawsuit for compensation.
Studies have shown that pesticides, lead, heavy metals, certain paints, and toxic substances can cause birth defects. Unfortunately, there are also studies that have yet to find the exact cause of defects from a genetic standpoint. Therefore, if you have a baby born with a defect, it is best that you consult an attorney to see if your case might qualify for compensation.
Genetic or not, physicians have an obligation to their patients to ensure that their child is born as healthy as possible. When they fail to fulfill their obligation as a medical care provider, they can be held liable in court.
Some instances where a birth defect may qualify for a malpractice lawsuit include:
The damages in these types of cases vary depending on the type of defect, its severity, and how it will impact the parents. Some compensation that you may receive if your child is born with a preventable defect include:
When choosing a law firm to represent your child and yourself for a defect case, you need an attorney that has experience handling these types of cases. Also, you need a law firm with the resources on hand to stand up to medical providers and their insurance companies.
The birth defect team from Berkowitz and Hanna, LLC are here to help you with your case. We have years of experience and have helped countless parents just like you with birth defect claims.
To get started, contact Berkowitz and Hanna, LLC to schedule a no-obligation case evaluation. You can also connect with a team member online and someone will be in touch soon to schedule your appointment.