January is National Birth Defects Prevention Month, and this year’s theme, as established by the National Birth Defects Prevention Network (NBDPN), is “And the Beat Goes On … Looking to the Future for Healthy Hearts.” Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect and are the focus of the NBDPN national awareness campaign this year.
According to NBDPN, congenital heart defects are “conditions present at birth that affect how a baby’s heart is made and the way it works.” Approximately 40,000 babies are born with a heart defect each year in the United States. These defects, based on information from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), may involve the valves inside the heart, the interior walls of the heart, or the veins and arteries that carry blood to the body or the heart, and affect the normal flow of blood through the heart.
Some congenital heart defects are easily treatable or fixed, others can have serious, life-threatening symptoms and require intensive medical care. Out of every 1,000 newborns, eight will be born with a congenital heart defect.
While the cause of most congenital heart defects is unknown, some can still be prevented by avoiding known risk factors. Although some of these risk factors are obvious, such as diabetes, obesity, and smoking during pregnancy, others have to do with family medical history, ethnic background, and even vitamin deficiencies. These risk factors must be addressed by a woman and her child’s healthcare providers.
If your child was born with a congenital heart defect as the result of a failure to provide comprehensive prenatal care or as the result of a failure to detect and/or treat the defect in a timely manner, you and your child may be entitled to pursue a medical negligence claim.
The experienced New Jersey birth defect lawyers at Blume Forte can help you understand your legal rights and options. Call us at (973) 6358-5400 for a no-cost consultation.