The birth of a child is an overwhelming and anxiety-producing experience, even in the best of circumstances and the best outcomes. When your newborn is suffering from an injury or ailment, your concern for your baby takes over, all you know is that your precious little one is hurting, you don’t care about terminology. But the distinction between birth defects and birth injuries is an important one that can have a huge effect on the future of your baby.

What is a birth defect?

A birth defect is a condition that your child is born with that affects their health. The condition existed before the child came out of the womb. Some examples of birth defects include being born without all limbs or appendages or with a cleft palate. Birth defects can be caused by various factors, including drug or alcohol use, prescription medications, malnutrition, genetic factors, environmental factors, and many other things, but they are not the fault of the delivering medical practitioners.

What is a birth injury?

A birth injury is an injury to the child that is sustained during birth. This is sometimes a result of the size or position of the baby, but it is sometimes the result of the actions of the medical practitioners delivering the baby. Babies who are premature or babies that are very large are at higher risk for birth injury as the delivery process may be more difficult. A cone shape to the soft parts of the baby’s head (particularly common where vacuum suction was used to help remove the baby) is a common birth injury, along with bruising to the baby’s face and body, as the baby sustains some trauma from being pushed through the birth canal, but these injuries generally heal quickly and do not result in permanent damage.

Some conditions such as Erb’s palsy (an injury to the brachial plexus nerves) and cerebral palsy (a type of brain damage that impairs movement and motor function) can result from birth injuries, and have serious, lifelong implications. They can result from improper use of equipment or medical negligence, along with a host of other conditions and birth injuries.

If your child suffered an injury during birth that was not a birth defect, you and your child may have been victims of medical malpractice. Contact the experienced lawyers at the Epstein Law Firm to discuss your situation today.

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