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When can parents sue for a birth injury or birth defect?

The birth of a child is one of the most joyous moments parents can experience. When a birth injury or birth defect occurs, a dark cloud is cast on an otherwise momentous occasion. To make matters worse, in some cases the parents discover medical errors are to blame for the injury. Maryland parents may be interested in the difference between a birth injury and a defect.

Birth injuries happen when complications occur during the delivery process, sometimes due to the technique the medical practitioner used or errors that were made. Birth defects, on the other hand, refer to harm that was done to an infant during the mother's pregnancy. Unlike birth injuries, defects are generally caused by environmental factors, heredity and "teratogens." Teratogens include chemicals or other factors that contributed to a child's defect during the infant's formation in the mother's womb.

Can a medical practitioner be responsible for a child's birth defect? Yes. Doctors can administer certain medications that may contribute to birth defects. Some drugs that prevent miscarriage or nausea are known to cause defects. Doctors should be aware of such drugs and inform their patients of possible side effects before prescribing them.

What can Maryland parents do when their child suffers from a birth injury or birth defect due to medical errors? If parents have evidence that medical errors contributed to a child's injury, they can file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the medical practitioner and the hospital. An experienced medical malpractice lawyer can help parents understand their options.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Birth Injury Overview," Accessed on Sep. 7, 2014

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