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Your child suffered personal injury at birth: What to do now

The birth of your child in Maryland is supposed to be one of the most exciting and happy times in a parent's life. However, such days can quickly turn to tragedy if a baby is the victim of a birth injury during delivery. In some cases, that harm could have been avoided if only medical professionals had acted according to their professional training. Parents who have been devastated by a birth injury do have some options against the physicians and other staff who may have harmed their child.

Birth injuries are defined as wounds suffered by children during the labor and delivery process. About five out of every 1,000 children in the U.S. will be injured during their birth. Injuries may occur because of a medical professional's use of improper tools or technique, including forceps or vacuum suction to remove the child from the birth canal. The harm to the child is generally attributable to head injuries and lack of oxygen.

It is important to differentiate between birth injuries and birth defects. Injuries are generally caused by the medical malpractice inflicted upon the family by health care professionals. Birth defects, on the other hand, generally involve some kind of physiological issue that developed before labor and delivery. About 7 percent of children are born with some kind of birth defect. These conditions can be caused by genetic issues, or they can be attributable to environmental factors such as smoking or exposure to certain chemicals.

Successful birth injury cases generally involve the parents demonstrating that health care professionals -- including pharmaceutical companies -- failed to provide adequate care for the child throughout development and delivery. The conduct of the physician must generally fall below a certain standard considered reasonable and acceptable. Expert testimony is often used to determine whether this was the case. Parents should realize that the cause of a child's physical ailments can be difficult to identify, which is why it is critical to build a strong case using an experienced legal team. No one should have to suffer the long-term injury associated with medical malpractice at birth.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Birth Injury Overview" Aug. 06, 2014

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