The birth of a child can change your life, whether you are a new parent, or you already have children of your own. Unfortunately for some parents, their child may have been born with a condition that could severely affect their health. When a child is born with a condition that could have been avoidable, there is always a question of whether the doctor in charge of the pregnancy could have done more. If your child was born with a birth injury, you should consult with an experienced Baltimore birth injury lawyer today. At Bennett & Heyman, P.A., our injury attorneys are committed to providing you with the legal representation you need to pursue your claim. Bennett & Heyman, P.A. is here to explain whether a wrongful birth should be categorized as a birth defect or birth injury.
What is a Wrongful Birth?
Throughout a pregnancy, mothers will check in with their doctor to ensure that their child is developing in the womb without any issues. To monitor the child’s development, the doctor will likely perform an ultrasound to check on the child’s vital signs and other issues, like whether the child is in a position that will make delivery easier.
A wrongful birth occurs when a doctor does not alert parents that their child could be born with a birth defect or other dangerous condition. When performing prenatal testing, a doctor will typically relay information to the parents regarding the overall health of the child. For example, if a doctor believes that a child will be born with some type of abnormality like down syndrome, this is information that should be passed on to the parents.
As a result of failing to inform the parents that their child could be born with a disability, the parents will likely be shocked on the day of delivery. This is especially true when there are options that a doctor could take to minimize the effects of a certain condition once a child is born.
Birth Defects vs. Birth Injuries
It is important to understand when a wrongful birth crosses into the territory of medical malpractice. This often means learning the difference between a birth defect and a birth injury. A birth defect is a condition that the child is born with due to some genetic predisposition passed on by a parent. The following is a list of birth defects that a child could be born with:
- Anencephaly – baby is missing parts of their brain and skull at birth
- Cystic fibrosis – A condition where the fluids in the child’s body become thick and create various issues like breathing problems
- Spina bifida – The bones of the baby’s spine do not properly adhere to the spinal cord
A birth injury is an injury to a baby caused by a doctor committing negligence during the delivery of the child or during prenatal care. For example, if a doctor incorrectly used forceps and caused your child a head injury during delivery, this would be a birth injury that could trigger a medical malpractice claim.
In some cases, a doctor may refuse to provide patients with information about a potential birth defect if they believe the parents may abort the child. If the parents believe the child will only live a life of suffering, they may want the option of choosing an abortion early into the pregnancy. When a doctor’s actions effectively take this choice out of the hands of the parents, this is an issue that could trigger a legal cause of action against the doctor and his employer for hospital negligence.
Maryland is one of about 20 states to permit parents to file a wrongful birth claim against a medical practitioner. This lawsuit alleges that a doctor did not provide sufficient information to parents about the availability of genetic testing. Genetic testing would reveal whether a child would be born with a certain type of birth defect.
A cause of action can also be filed if the doctor received abnormal test results but failed to disclose this information to the parents. The parents must also provide evidence that they would have terminated the pregnancy if they had received information regarding the birth defect their child developed.
Contact an Experienced Baltimore Birth Injury Attorney Today
If you believe your doctor caused your child to be born with an abnormal condition, contact an experienced Baltimore personal injury attorney today. The legal team at Bennett & Heyman, P.A. possess decades of combined legal experience, and we are prepared to fight for you and your child. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your legal options, contact Bennett & Heyman, P.A. at (410) 429-7856, or contact us online.