Medical Malpractice — Birth Defects
According to the March of Dimes, approximately 150,000 babies are born with birth defects annually in the United States. Other experts state that approximately 3 percent of all newborns have a major birth defect. The definition of birth defects is an abnormality of function, structure, or metabolism that is present at birth. Birth defects, the leading cause of death in newborns, can range from minor to serious. Over 4,000 types of birth defects are known, though some are more common than others. Birth defects often lead to mental or physical disabilities and are sometimes even fatal.
While birth defects can be caused by genetic factors, environmental hazards—such as drugs and toxins—can also have a teratogenic effect. A teratogen is any substance to which a pregnant female is exposed that may cause physical defects in the developing embryo or fetus and result in a birth defect. If a woman is exposed to teratogens during pregnancy due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another party, that party can be held liable for the losses and suffering that ensues for both the mother and the child.
Prescription Drugs and Birth Defects
About 90 percent of all pregnant women use prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) drugs at some point during their pregnancy. While many of these are safe to use when expecting, many types of drugs pose the threat of birth defects and should not be used by pregnant women. Doctors have a responsibility to prescribe to pregnant women only those medications that are absolutely necessary and that are safe for consumption during each particular stage of pregnancy. Failure to follow this medical standard may make this medical professional responsible for any birth defects with which a child is born.
If you or a family member have a birth defect as a result of bad medicine, please contact Daniel P. Kondos today. Attorneys are available by phone, e-mail, or by clicking here.