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Birth defects, birth injuries and parents' legal rights

Medical malpractice can be a particularly challenging claim for victims to prove. Just last week, our Worcester personal injury law blog discussed one such case involving a birth injury lawsuit that is currently proceeding against a delivery room doctor.

Birth injuries, of course, can result from any number of factors and may not necessarily be the result of negligence. How then, Worcester residents may wonder, can they begin to determine whether they ought to pursue legal action? This is an important question for parents struggling with this issue.

A distinction must be drawn in this regard between birth injuries and birth defects. A birth defect is a condition that afflicts a baby at some point before delivery begins. It could be the result of a genetic disorder or other hereditary factor. It could also be the result of something the baby was exposed to through the mother -- drugs, for example, or perhaps dangerous chemicals in the air, water or food.

A birth injury, on the other hand, is how we describe harm done to the baby due to an accident or negligence on the part of a doctor or other medical personnel. Causes of birth injuries can range from misuse of forceps during delivery to neglecting to monitor the baby's condition, perhaps failing to call for a timely c-section.

Now, while suing a provider over an error during delivery may seem like a straightforward matter, birth defects may also be actionable. For example, some prescription drugs originally intended for pregnant women have later been discovered to cause birth defects (Delalutin, as well as Bendectin and Ortho-Gyno). If your provider prescribed you any of these during your pregnancy, you may be able to pursue compensation if they led to birth defects.

There are some unique strategies Worcester parents may employ in court in order to prove their claims. We will look more closely at these in a future blog post.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Birth Injury Overview," accessed on Aug. 22, 2014

Source: Findlaw.com, "Birth Injury Overview," accessed on Aug. 22, 2014

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