What Are the Most Common Birth Defects, and Are They Preventable?

Within the U.S., about 3% of all babies are born with birth defects. Those defects vary widely from fairly common defects to extremely rare congenital diseases. All the possible defects together result in about 20% of the infant deaths reported.

Genetic Defects

These defects include all down syndrome cases as well as other genetic conditions that come from the parents. When you start looking at these defects, you may see a commonality throughout the family. That doesn’t mean that every generation will have an instance of these conditions, but often there will be a family history of some presence of the condition.

Common genetic defects include down syndrome, the many variants of dwarfism, muscular dystrophy, Huntington disease, and more. These are all a result of anomalies and will often be found during the pregnancy through monitoring and standard exams.

Mouth and Facial Deformities

The cleft lip, cleft palate, and other facial defects can vary. The commonality that they share is that they directly affect the mouth and face. These facial deformities, however, don’t include birthmarks.

Facial deformities can impact the child’s life in substantial ways. Beyond the visual element, the children may be unable to eat or speak properly. Often times, these situations will require surgery or medical intervention in an effort to stabilize the situation. It is important for parents to take their time and weigh all outcomes and options when making a decision regarding surgery for their child.

Negligence and Malpractice Caused Defects

Among the most common negligence and malpractices cases include Spina Bifida, congenital heart defects, neural tube defects, cleft palates, head deformities, and limb deformities. Even cerebral palsy can be caused by negligence. Also, many prescriptions can cause birth defects if taken during pregnancy.

Medications that may cause many common birth defects include Zoloft, Prozac, Clomid, and even Ibuprofen. Anti-depressants are known to impact lung development, which is one reason why many doctors will not provide anti-depressants to pregnant women.

Malpractice is often a result of misdiagnosis. If something should have been found or identified during pregnancy and wasn’t, then there is a case for medical malpractice. For example, if your child has Spina Bifida and you have extensive ultrasounds that confirmed the proper placement of each vertebra, then you could argue a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose.

When Should a Claim be Filed?

If a medical professional was directly or indirectly involved in the misdiagnosis or negligent care of the child, then you may want to speak to a qualified birth injury attorney in Birmingham about filing a claim. As a parent, you probably have numerous questions and concerns, and you should take those to a professional. While you’re working with your medical team for your child, you should consider bringing in an attorney as well.

A team of attorneys can help you understand the statute of limitations and what documents and medical records will be ordered in order to review your potential case. Many parents realize years later that  they missed their opportunity to take legal action.

The right time to file a claim is right away. It’s possible for parents and a legal team to work together to get a financial estimate for the time and resources spent on medical treatment for the child. Contacting an attorney as soon as possible is vital in medical malpractice cases.

Contact a Birth Injury Attorney

A lot of the time that you’re worried about your infant’s development, the question arises of who is responsible. Not every deformity or defect puts someone “at-fault,” and there are many times when simply no one is responsible. However, in cases of negligence or medical malpractice, then you can and should hold someone responsible. The law offices of Hare, Wynn, Newell, & Newton, LLP offer services to parents facing birth defects with their newborn or young child. Contact us today to talk with someone about your concerns.


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