Birth injuries are injuries that babies may incur during the birthing process; fetal birth defects, on the other hand, typically are injuries caused by something that goes wrong during gestation. If fact, when a woman doesn’t receive the standard of prenatal care that she should, such as prenatal screening for birth defects, a baby is at a greater risk of developing problems. The following considers different types of fetal birth defects and how negligent prenatal care can play a role.
Types of Fetal Birth Defects
There are two primary types of birth defects: structural birth defects, including cleft lip/palate, heart defect, limb anomalies and spina bifida; and functional or development birth defects, including sensory problems, degenerative disorders, metabolic disorders, and nervous system and brain disorders, as named by the National Institutes of Health. When prenatal care and screening is negligent, both types of birth defects may occur.
Common Causes of Birth Defects
One of the main causes of birth defects is the use of certain over-the-counter and prescription medications. Antidepressants, anti-seizure medications, certain antibiotics, dermatological drugs, blood pressure drugs and more all have been linked to both structural and functional birth defects. Thalidomide and isotretinoin are both named by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as drugs that should be avoided during pregnancy.
Another common cause of birth defects is the failure of a prenatal care provider to recognize a dangerous condition or disease within the mother or baby and to treat the condition promptly. For example, hypertension during pregnancy may lead to an increased risk of birth defects, including heart and brain defects. If the baby is not developing as it should or if the mother suffers from a certain ailment, the baby may not be getting enough oxygen, which could cause a nervous system or brain defect.
The Role of a Prenatal Care Provider
While some birth defects can be blamed on genetics or environmental factors, or even factors outside of the realm of what a prenatal care provider can correct, others are caused because a prenatal care provider fails to detect problems with prenatal screening for birth defects. The role of the prenatal care provider is to take tests and urine samples, collect blood work and perform ultrasounds, perform physical examinations and ask the patient questions about medication, diet and lifestyle. If a prenatal care provider notices something unusual or unsafe for the fetus – like low oxygen levels or that the mother is taking a prescription drug linked to birth defects – it is the responsibility and the duty of the prenatal care provider to take action to the extent that another medical professional in the same position would. If the prenatal care provider fails to act and the baby suffers a birth defect as a result, then the prenatal care provider may be held liable.
Take Action to File Your Claim Today
A claim against any medical professional in Pennsylvania must be filed within two years’ time after the malpractice occurs, as found under Pennsylvania Code Chapter 55, Section 5524. During the lawsuit, you will have to prove that the harm to your baby would not have occurred if for the action (or inaction) of the prenatal care provider in question.
At Cordisco & Saile LLC, we understand how hard it can be to file a lawsuit against your prenatal care provider, especially when the harm to your baby was unintentional. However, if you want to recover compensation for medical expenses, loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering, a tort action is often the only way. To learn more about what this means for you, call us today at 215-642-2335.