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

Many people from New Mexico and elsewhere are concerned about the well-being of a child and the mother during delivery. As childbirth is a complicated process, families have expectations that medical providers will handle the delivery smoothly. However, complications may arise during childbirth, harming either the child or the mother or both.

Sometimes, a doctor may fail to diagnose a condition such as hypertension, may not be able to assess the health of the baby in the womb or may not perform a cesarean section when appropriate. They may also use medical devices like forceps incorrectly, causing harm to the baby. Complications may also arise if prescribed medications cause harm to the baby or parent. While birth injuries may be caused by doctor negligence or wrong drugs provided by a pharmacist, sometimes, unknown reasons result in birth defects.

Sometimes, a complication may be caused due to a birth defect rather than a birth injury. Statistically, 7 percent of babies are born with birth defects, ranging from minor to severe, due to something that happened during or before the pregnancy. There may be various reasons for the birth defect, including but not limited to a hereditary condition, use of prescribed or illegal drugs, or alcohol consumption during pregnancy by the mother.

However, birth injuries are mostly caused by incorrect use of medical equipment during the delivery process or complications while in labor. A medical technique may not have been correctly applied or an instrument, such as a vacuum, may not be used properly causing a lack of oxygen or other physical injuries to the child.

If a birth injury is caused due to the negligence of a medical provider, pharmacist, or a drug manufacturer, the victim may file a lawsuit against them. However, if the birth injury is caused due to unknown reasons or a birth defect, the parents may not have a right to claim damages. Advice of professionals may help the person ascertain whether damages can be claimed.

Source: FindLaw, "Birth Injury Overview," accessed on Aug. 19, 2014

Source: FindLaw, "Birth Injury Overview," accessed on Aug. 19, 2014

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