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What is the difference between a birth injury and a birth defect?

It can be easy to confuse the terms "birth injury" and "birth defect" if you are looking at the two at a cursory level. Both have a nexus at the time of birth, and both result in physical and sometimes mental conditions that result from a problem that takes place either before or during delivery. From a legal view, though, these two forms of harm are distinct, and this distinction can be important in terms of establishing potential liability.

A birth injury usually happens during the delivery process. A doctor or a nurse may make a mistake such as misdiagnosing a condition in the mother, which might lead to a delay in resorting to a cesarean section delivery, and that in turn causes injury to the mother, or the baby, or both. Or a physician may commit an error using a particular tool, like a forceps, which can injure the baby. Other types of birth injuries are those that can lead to oxygen deprivation to the infant's brain, thereby contributing to harms such as Erbs or cerebral palsy.

Birth defects, on the other hand, are more commonly sourced in something that goes wrong while the fetus is still in the womb. Occasionally this can result from a physical injury to the mother, such as a trauma. Often, the cause can be traced to something that the mother ingested, particularly drugs (prescribed or otherwise).

Medication birth defects are a source of considerable study, not only to link defects to specific drugs or classes of medication but also to learn how to avoid problems with adverse reactions or drug interactions.

One of the challenges that you and your attorney may confront if your child is born with an injury or a birth defect is to identify the cause with sufficient certainty to persuade a jury or an arbitrator that negligence on the part of one or more health care professionals or drug manufacturers was the likely source of the harm suffered. This post is only an introduction to the topic. If you believe that your newborn child suffers from harm that resulted during pregnancy or at the time of delivery, attorneys in Texas who are experienced with birth injury and birth defect cases will be well-suited to assist you in this effort.

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