Birth Defects Vs. Birth Trauma

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Newborn baby at home in PinellasThe day your baby is born is meant to be among the happiest in your life, but that can all suddenly change when there is news of a serious birth defect. In many cases, lumped into this term “birth defect” is an entirely different realm of problems, better labeled “birth injuries” or “birth traumas.” While neither a birth defect nor a birth trauma is a good diagnosis to face, there is a substantial difference of which new parents should be aware. To understand why St. Petersburg families facing birth traumas may be entitled to compensation, one must first comprehend the difference between the two terms.

What is a Birth Defect? Birth defects are also known as congenital disorder. That is to say that they are due to genetic abnormalities, the mother being in poor health during the pregnancy, intrauterine infections, or because the mother is exposed to certain environmental conditions. These problems generally develop during infancy, but have already formed their roots in the child’s genetic makeup while he or she was in the womb. Birth defects vary in severity and can impact the child for the rest of his or her life, but they are not caused by delivery.

What is a Birth Trauma? On the other hand, a birth trauma is a direct result of some sort of force exerted during birth. Of course, there is a great deal of force placed on a child during the birthing process, but the newborn can tolerate that. After all, that is the way that we are meant to come into the world. However, when additional force is necessary to remove the child, there is a risk of damage. Poorly performed physician interference can cause serious harm to vital organs, the bone structure of the child, nerve centers, the heart, brain, or skull. This is a common form of medical malpractice. An example of this is cerebral palsy, which is often the result of doctors waiting too long to schedule an emergency C-section. Of course, it isn’t always the doctor’s doing. In many cases, for instance, the umbilical cord can wrap around the child. Around the throat, it can cut off air supply.

Though the statistics sound comforting at first, with less than one percent of infants experiencing any form of birth trauma, the numbers are a bit overwhelming when considered in another light. According to experts on the subject, of the nearly four million babies born in 2012, as many as 24,000 suffered some type of birth injury. The exact number of infants from Saint Petersburg falling on that list is a little more difficult to discern, but nevertheless this is a reminder that there is a real risk.

It is important to understand that not all birth traumas are going to be worthy of a personal injury case. The most minor of those can be nothing more than light bruising or a slight laceration, which will heal and leave the baby completely unfazed. More severe cases are what the law aims to rectify. When a doctor makes a poor decision that leads to lifelong brain damage or deformity, then a personal injury attorney should be contacted. It may be possible to collect damages to assist with the ongoing medical care necessary to properly care for the child. There are time limits on cases such as this. If there is any suspicion that the medical team is to blame for causing lasting problems for your child, seek legal representation as soon as possible.