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Birth Defects v. Birth Injury: The Distinction Matters Under Florida Med Mal Laws


Couples spend the duration of pregnancy eagerly anticipating the birth of their child, so they look forward to the delivery process and the joyous occasion when a new life emerges. As a result, there can be an extreme amount of stress and uncertainty if the birth did not go as planned. Health care providers will no doubt try to explain why your baby is in distress and the nature of his or her medical condition. However, their words may just lead to more questions about whether your child suffers from a birth defect or injury, and whether either could have been prevented.

While you cannot be expected to understand the intricate medical details, you may gain some insight from reviewing the differences between birth injuries and birth defects. The distinction is an important one as it pertains to your rights in a Florida birth injury claim, so read on for some background information.

Comparing Birth Defects and Birth Injuries: The best way to understand the key differences between these two medical conditions is to review the specific definitions:

  • A birth defect is an abnormality or congenital issue that is present when the baby is born, and which developed during gestation, immediately before birth, or at delivery. It can affect any organ or bodily system, and more than one in some cases. Birth defects can be linked to genetic or hereditary medical conditions, as well as exposure to alcohol, nicotine, or other toxins. Many times, the exact cause is unknown. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that up to three percent of infants born every year are affected by birth defects.
  • Birth injury is the result of some type of trauma inflicted upon the infant immediately before birth, during labor, or after being born. In most cases, birth injuries are avoidable and only occur because of negligence. There are some issues that are clear error, such as where the baby is mishandled or cut during a C-section.

Unfortunately, the lines are blurred in other situations. A head or skull injury may happen because the physician was forced to use forceps during labor, but doing so was necessary to save the infant’s life. Another example is where the baby suffers a brachial plexus injury because of pressure when the doctor tried to ease a difficult delivery. 

Legal Remedies for Birth Injuries Caused by Negligence: Many infants will require extensive medical treatment and specialized care for birth injuries; some will suffer the effects for their lifetimes. Considering the consequences for your family, it is important to seek all available legal remedies. You may have a claim for medical malpractice, for which you can recover compensation for your losses.

Trust a Florida Birth Injury Lawyer to Protect Your Interests 

Parents deserve justice when their child suffers harm from a health care provider’s mistake, but they also need proper compensation for the tremendous losses associated with serious birth injuries. To learn how our Miami birth injury lawyers can help with your legal remedies, please contact Freidin Brown, P.A. to set up a free consultation at our offices.

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