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Understanding the Difference between Birth Injuries and Birth Defects

August 4th, 2015
On behalf of David Bowling of The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm, A Professional Law Corporation posted in Medical Malpractice on Tuesday, August 4, 2015.

Childbirth can be a miraculous and special occasion – provided there are no complications. Most often, the birth process is free of issues, and the mother and child survive without any long-term problems. However, birth defects or injuries still happen despite recent medical advances.

Although there are plenty of health conditions that can affect newborns, many birth issues result from physician negligence. In these cases, the parents of the child may be able to file a lawsuit against the at-fault person or organization.


A New Orleans medical malpractice attorney from The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm can guide you through this difficult time. We can evaluate your circumstances to find out if you may have a valid malpractice claim.

Call us today at (504) 586-5200 to schedule an appointment. In the meantime, read on to learn the differences between birth defects and birth injuries:

Birth Defects

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, birth defects are conditions that alter the structure of a baby’s body. They affect approximately 1 in 33 U.S. infants.

According to CDC, birth defects can affect any part of the baby’s body, and they can inhibit the child’s growth and development. Birth defects can influence how the baby looks, walks and talks. They range from minor to severe, depending on the body part involved, and in some cases, they require lifelong medical care.

It is not always possible to detect or prevent birth defects, but doctors can often trace specific complications back to medications, alcohol, drugs or smoking during pregnancy. In some cases, they are hereditary and unavoidable. As such, it is difficult or not always possible to file a successful malpractice lawsuit for a birth defect.

Birth Injuries

A birth injury happens during the delivery process, according to While they are not common, approximately 5 in 1,000 babies in the United States suffer an injury at birth.

There are various reasons why a child may suffer a birth injury. In many cases, it is due to a doctor’s negligence or the use of improper techniques. Certain medical apparatuses, such as forceps, can also cause injuries if used incorrectly.

It is also possible for babies to suffer injuries due to a lack of oxygen during the birthing process. If a child does not receive enough oxygen, then he or she may suffer ongoing brain damage and related complications.

Some birth injuries may constitute medical malpractice, and in these cases, the victims’ family can pursue damages against the doctor, obstetrician or health-care institution.

At The Bowling Christiansen Law Firm, we understand how stressful and devastating birth injuries can be. This is why we passionately represent our clients and help them pursue the maximum compensation.

A lawsuit not only can recover damages for ongoing medical expenses, but it also may save other people from the same negligent behavior. To start planning your claim, call a New Orleans medical malpractice lawyer at (504) 586-5200.

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