Birth Injuries FAQs

by admin on June 29, 2010

Q: What’s the difference between a birth defect and a birth injury?
A: A birth defect occurs during pregnancy. I birth injury results during the birth process. While most expect that a birth injuries could be avoid, some birth defects are also avoidable. Doctors can be held liable should they be found at fault. An experienced birth injury attorney can evaluate your situation to determine if you have reason to file a law suit for your child’s injury.

Q: What kinds of situations give rise to a lawsuit for birth injuries?
A: Most of these cases occur when a doctor fails to adequately recognize, assess or respond to conditions and complications during a woman’s pregnancy or delivery, or when a woman takes a prescription drug during pregnancy that causes harm to the baby. Fault is assigned when it could have been avoided by a person with the appropriate medical training.

Q: What is medical malpractice?
A: Medical malpractice is negligence committed by a professional health care provider–a doctor, nurse, dentist, technician, hospital or hospital worker–whose performance of duties departs from a standard of practice of those with similar training and experience, resulting in harm to a patient or patients. The medical community attempts to train and educated doctors to avoid mistakes, but they are required to carry malpractice insurance just in case.

Q: In a lawsuit for birth injury, how does a jury determine if a doctor’s actions were within the standards of good medical practice?
A: A jury will consider testimony by experts–usually other doctors, who will testify whether they believe your physician’s actions followed standard medical practice or fell below the accepted standard of care. A specialist, like an obstetrician, is held to a higher standard of care–that of a specialist–than would be expected of a non-specialist. A specialist obtains far greater training to avoid preventable mistakes and are therefore held to a higher standard.

Q: I’ve heard about “teratogens” causing birth defects. What are they?
A: A teratogen is a chemical or agent that causes birth defects in a child. A number of drugs have been found to be teratogens, and many of these were initially meant to aid a woman’s pregnancy. These include Delalutin, a drug administered to pregnant women for the prevention of miscarriages, and Bendectin, a medication given to pregnant women, to fight nausea. Doctors, and in some state pharmacists, prescribe medication and have a responsibility to the patient to understand the side effects and recognize the risks.

Q: What is cerebral palsy?
A: Cerebral palsy is the generic term for a number of disorders affecting a baby’s brain function and body movement. Cerebral palsy can be the result of an injury to a baby’s brain in the womb, during delivery, or some time after birth. It can also be caused by a lack of oxygen flow to a baby’s brain during delivery. Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, known as HIE, is one of many potential causes of cerebral palsy. There are more causes than mentioned here. The long term medical expenses associate with this condition are beyond the means of most people. If the doctors actions contributing to your child’s condition are found to be negligent, you may be entitled to compensation for their ongoing medical expense, pain and suffering.

About the Author:
Samuel K. Allen is an attorney at the Law Offices of Anastopoulo & Clore in Charleston, SC. His law firm has helped families receive compensation for birth injuries in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Texas, Illinois and across the entire United States. Their members are licensed in multiple state and have been associated by attorneys in other states due to their experience and success in birth related injuries. You can learn more of the Charleston birth injury law firm by visiting their website.
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