What is a birth defect?
While most pregnancies are free from complications, there are unfortunate cases where problems result in temporary or long-term injury to the baby in some form. In these cases, the babies are said to have been born with birth defects: specific conditions of their health which are permanently damaged due to difficulties in birthing. Most birth defects should be immediately diagnosed. When they remain undetected, causing future complications, a claim for birth defect compensation can be made.
What are the different types of birth defects?
There are two main types of birth defects: structural and functional/developmental.
Structural birth defects cause problems with body parts. Common physical problems include cleft lip or cleft palate, heart defects, such as missing or misshaped valves, and abnormal limbs like a club foot and problems related to the growth and development of the brain and spinal cord.
Functional birth defects are related to a problem with how a body part or body system works. They may include:
- Nervous system or brain problems – such as learning disabilities, mental retardation, behavioural disorders, speech or language difficulties, convulsions, and movement trouble. Examples would be conditions such as Autism, Down syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, and Fragile X syndrome.
- Sensory problems – such as blindness, cataracts and varying degrees of hearing loss including deafness
- Degenerative disorders – conditions that might not be obvious at birth, but cause health to steadily deteriorate, such as Rett syndrome and muscular dystrophy.
What Can Cause Birth Defects?
Birth defect causes can be varied, including but not limited to:
- Genetic problems – when one or more genes doesn’t work properly or part of a gene is missing
- Problems with chromosomes – like missing part of a chromosome or having an extra one
- Environmental factors a woman is exposed to during pregnancy, such as rubella or German measles while pregnant, or drugs or alcohol use during pregnancy.
- Medical negligence in delivery
Can I Make A Birth Defect Claim?
If medical errors have led to the development of a birth defect which has caused complications, you may be entitled to make a claim. These errors may take multiple forms.
A failure in diagnosis can occur if an ultrasound scan has been inadequate. An error in performance can be for a number of reasons – the operator have failed to interpret the scan or perform it properly, or blood tests may have been misread.
Birth Defects can also stem from a failure to successfully manage a pregnancy and subsequent labour, with the decisions made by relevant healthcare professionals called into question. Such birth defects include, but are not limited to:
- Maternal Diabetes
- Developing diabetes during pregnancy can increase the prevalence of miscarriage. Women at risk should be screened, and closely monitored, to avoid such risks.
- Cerebral Palsy- Caused by oxygen deprivation during delivery, Cerebral Palsy is usually the result of a brain injury.
- Erbs Palsy / Brachial Plexus Injuries
If doctors fail to accurately assess whether a baby can be safely vaginally delivered, the baby’s shoulders can become trapped, which may prove fatal if not promptly dealt with, and the baby’s bracial plexus can be damaged, causing injury to the nerves in the neck which risks causing paralysis.
Ventouse / Forceps Delivery: Sometimes assistance is required to complete the delivery, with forceps or a ventouse utilised. These methods have risks associated, with bruising and facial nerve damage being primary considerations. The wrong method of assisted delivery can result in visible scarring.
Congenital Hip Dysplasia: Dysplasia affects the shape of the hip joint, making it crucial to diagnose and treat it quickly. The earlier the condition is detected, the lower the risk of complications and the more successful the treatment is likely to be.
Various conditions may also affect the mother, damaging her future health and fertility. The failure to adequately perform an Episiotomy can result in second- and third-degree tears, which can cause on-going problems like incontinence, and complications such as pre-eclampsia, or uterine (placental) abruptions.
If an avoidable birth defect affects the mother, baby, or both, there may be grounds to make a birth defect claim.
Our solicitors can provide expert claim advice in a FREE consultation if you are unsure; simply call 01204 521 133.
How Much Will I Get?
Everyon’e’s claim is entirely different, so it is difficult to advise accurately. However, our Medical Negligence Compensation Calculator may provide a rough estimate of what you may receive. These estimates are based on your injuries and also other factors, such as psychological problems and missed time at work.
‘No Win No Fee’
At Asons Solicitors, we have taken the risk out of making a claim for all of our clients, which is why over 98% of our claims are No Win No Fee. This way, we can allow everyone access to justice, regardless of their financial position. If you choose to make a claim with us, there are no upfront fees or unexpected costs, as we take on the risk for you.
More on ‘No Win, No Fee’ here.
What are the Consequences?
Raising a child with a disability can entail significant extra costs, whether that difficulty is behavioural or physical. Compensation in cases such as these can cover the cost of professional care, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, and other associated treatments.
Where the mother’s health has been affected, compensation may ease the financial burdens associated with unanticipated time off work, loss of earnings, and, in some cases, increased child care costs.
Coping with the aftermath of birthing injuries as a result of medical negligence is often extremely traumatic and may cause a number of negative consequences in all aspects of the victim’s life. Our guide to Coping With Infant Birthing Injuries was written to help individuals come to terms with what has happened and to find the support they need.
Our Birth Defect Claims Experience
Birth Defect claims are pursued on the condition that had the parents been made aware of the defect, they would have terminated the pregnancy, coining the term “wrongful birth.”
Errors arising from medical negligence cases may hold dire repercussions for patients. At Asons, we understand what surgical negligence is, and the detrimental effect it has on victims. The consequences may not just be physical – potential financial difficulties where time is taken off work must also be considered, and the ensuing stress may elicit negative psychological consequences.
We know that victims are often hesitant to come forward with their medical claims, particularly those pertaining to birthing and obstetrics. As medical negligence solicitors, it’s our job to do everything within our means to make the process as straightforward as possible.
As with any claim, you may be worried about the potential costs of pursuing your clinical negligence case. To address this common concern, we have devised a variety of options to help you. We aid you in acquiring all the assistance that you are entitled to, whilst managing resulting compensation in the most beneficial way possible. We must remind you to be quick, however, as there are time limits in place for making claims of this kind.
We deal with medical negligence claims on a regular basis. If you are suffering as a result of substandard treatment, you may be eligible to make a claim. Our Medical Negligence Solicitors will work to gather all appropriate paperwork and documentation, whilst speaking to the parties involved, substantiating your claim.