New York Birth Defect Attorneys
Approximately 1 in 33 babies (more than 100,000 babies per year) are born in the United States with birth defects, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These ailments can either exist at birth or develop over time and range in severity from mild to life-threatening.
Parents have a natural instinct to protect their young, so when a birth defect is discovered, they often ask, “Why did this happen?” Sometimes, there are no answers. In other cases, parents are horrified to learn that their child’s birth defect was caused by the wrongful actions of someone else.
Did your child suffer a birth defect due to medical negligence, a dangerous drug, or toxic exposure? Contact Finz & Finz, P.C., toll-free at (855) TOP-FIRM to speak with a skilled New York birth defect lawyer today about a birth defect lawsuit and obtain a confidential, free case strategy session.
How a Birth Defect Attorney From Finz & Finz, P.C. Can Help
Learning that you have a child born with a defect can turn a joyous time into a frightening and uncertain one. A birth defect lawyer can help determine whether your child’s condition was due to negligence and what you can do to help your child and family going forward.
If a doctor’s negligence contributed to your child’s birth defect, our birth defect and medical malpractice attorneys will gather evidence and engage industry-leading medical experts to demonstrate how the physician’s actions failed to meet the standard of care that was required under your specific circumstances.
In cases where a dangerous drug or toxic exposure may have caused the defect, our attorneys often utilize our extensive network of medical and scientific experts to provide testimony about how the pharmaceutical or chemical agents led to the development of your child’s birth defect.
What Are Birth Defects?
A birth defect is a structural or functional change within a fetus’ genetic makeup that occurs before a baby is born. It can impact virtually any part of the body, some with more devastating consequences than others.
Some birth defects may be easy to identify, while others can only be detected using blood tests, genetic tests, and imaging. In either circumstance, they can occur at any point during a pregnancy.
Moreover, some birth defects can be caused naturally by genetics, while others — such as fetal alcohol syndrome — can be caused by the mother. However, some birth defects are caused by someone else’s irresponsible actions, such as a negligent medical provider. An experienced birth defect lawyer can help you and your family investigate the cause of your child’s birth defects.
Most Common Birth Defects
Birth defects are also called congenital disorders. The most common include:
- Cleft lip/palate
- Down’s Syndrome
- Congenital heart defects (e.g., holes in the heart, narrow and leaky valves)
- Hip dysplasia
- Abdominal wall defects
- Limb abnormalities
- Neural tube defects
- Sensory problems (e.g., blindness, deafness)
- Metabolic disorders (e.g., hypothyroidism, phenylketonuria)
- Intellectual disabilities
- Learning disabilities
- Developmental delays
Under New York law, parents are entitled to sue a doctor for a birth defect if their child’s birth defect is the result of someone else’s negligence.
Birth Defects From Medical Negligence
A birth defect is not the same as a birth injury. It’s important to understand the difference when considering whether medical negligence played a role in your child being born with a birth defect.
A birth defect occurs while the baby is in the womb. By contrast, a birth injury happens while the mother is in labor and delivering the child.
There are many ways that a doctor or healthcare worker could be negligent and cause a birth injury, such as by failing to monitor the fetus for complications or prescribing the wrong medication for the mother during labor.
Medical negligence could also potentially be linked to a child born with a birth defect. In New York, parents can file a wrongful birth claim in certain cases.
Parents may be entitled to bring a wrongful birth claim against a medical practitioner if their child was born with a birth defect that they were not informed of and which may have led them to terminate the pregnancy.
Many birth defects can be identified early in a pregnancy. If a doctor failed to perform tests or discuss the implications of your child being born with a birth defect, you may be able to obtain compensation to cover the lifetime expenses of caring for a disabled child.
In New York, there are strict time limitations in which a birth defect lawsuit must be filed. Parents must file a claim within the proper timeframe to be eligible for compensation, otherwise, they will be prohibited from bringing a claim.
Birth Defects From Dangerous Drugs
Those who manufacture prescription drugs and those who prescribe them have a responsibility to warn consumers of the inherent risks. Unfortunately, many women of childbearing age are not properly warned about the risks of birth defects when taking certain potentially dangerous medications. In addition, some pharmaceutical companies market their drugs “off-label” and against FDA regulations.
Although there are many different drugs that can cause adverse effects, drugs known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) have been shown in some studies to increase the risk of a wide range of birth defects.
The SSRIs in question include:
- Venlafaxine (Effexor)
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), between 20 to 30 percent of newborns whose mothers used SSRI antidepressants while pregnant were born with disorders such as:
- Congenital heart defects
- Atrial septal defects
- Ventricular septal defects
- Right ventricular outflow obstruction defects
- Conotruncal defects
- Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS)
- Hypoplastic right heart syndrome (HRHS)
- Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN)
- Cleft palate or lip
- Spina bifida
- Skeletal defects
- Growth retardation
- Fetal valproate syndrome
- Craniosynostosis (skull defects)
- Omphalocele (intestine outside of the body)
- Abnormal muscle tone and suction
Birth Defects From Toxic Exposure
Numerous toxins have been linked to birth defects. The most common is lead, which can be found in everything from house paint, art materials, plastic, cosmetics, candles, the workplace, and even drinking water.
Other dangerous toxins associated with birth defects include:
- Polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB)
- Organic solvents (e.g., nail polish remover, spray paint, lacquers, etc.)
The types of birth defects caused by toxic exposure include spina bifida, developmental delays, spontaneous abortion, brain damage, muscular dystrophy, paralysis, low birth weight, limb deformations, and more.
Can Birth Defects Be Prevented?
Many birth defects are outside of a parent’s control. Oftentimes, they are the result of genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors that are not easily explained.
However, to the extent that an obstetrician failed to warn the expecting mother of known birth defects or that she was at an increased risk of having a child with a birth defect, the doctor could be held responsible for a child being born with a disorder.
Contact a New York Birth Defect Attorney Today
The New York birth defects lawyers at Finz & Finz, P.C. on Long Island and in New York City can help if you believe your child was born with a defect caused by negligence.
At Finz & Finz, P.C., we understand how devastating an unexpected birth defect can be. Your family may be coping with a significant loss, and meanwhile, your medical bills and other expenses just keep growing. Our medical malpractice law firm has helped families just like yours move forward in troubling times.
When you’re ready to take the first step, schedule a free consultation with our New York birth defect attorneys by calling us or contacting us online. Our compassionate and experienced legal team can address any questions or concerns you may have, and explain your potential legal options.