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Recognizing birth defects versus birth injuries

You trust your physician to provide the proper care of your child, starting in the womb. Unfortunately, not all physicians live up to that calling.

If your child suffers from birth injuries due to the negligence of a physician, it may be possible to seek restitution through a medical malpractice claim. However, it may not be as successful if the injury is actually a birth defect, and it is important to understand the difference between the two.

Duty of care

Physicians owe their patients a duty of care. In other words, there is a certain level of care, in accordance with the health laws, that all physicians must abide by when providing medical treatment. If a physician provides care in the same way that anyone reasonable physician would do, then one would expect that the outcome would be the same or quite similar across the board. On the other hand, if a physician deviates from the usual path of care and provides less care than a reasonable physician would, one may assume injuries that arise could have been prevented. In such cases, the court may find the physician negligent. Proving such instances requires a great deal of evidence and, possibly, an expert medical witness.

Defects differ

Birth defects are different from birth injuries. Whereas birth injuries occur during the birthing process, birth defects occur while the child is in the womb. Most birth defects are due to genetic mutations and are usually out of the physician's control. However, this is not true in all cases; certain medications or treatments to the mother and child may contribute to or create such defects. For this reason, identifying the root of the defect is critical in its classification and determining how it occurred.

Though a birth injury claim is not easy to prove, it is possible. Collecting and presenting the proper evidence will be essential in the development of a successful case.

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