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Birth injuries among major causes of death for U.S. children

What may come as a surprise to readers in the Houston, Texas, area is that according to a recent study, life expectancy at birth in the U.S. is among the lowest of other high-income countries. The study further found that birth injuries were a major cause of death for children.

According to the doctoral candidate who conducted the study, improper care during pregnancy and delivery, lack of necessary care for newborns, infections, birth injury, asphyxia and other problems relating to premature birth were among the major causes of death for U.S. children. The medical journal Health Affairs published the study's findings.

These results undoubtedly cause concern for expectant mothers and their families. Therefore, it is important to know that if such birth injuries could have been avoided by the medical practitioner, both the baby and its family may be entitled to damages.

When a family files a lawsuit against the medical professional, other caregivers or the hospital for birth injuries to a newborn, the family's attorney must be able to show that the physician or other professionals failed to provide the standard of care provided by other professionals in the same practice area under similar circumstances.

Damages from a successful lawsuit typically go the child in some form of a trust. Under Texas law, "noneconomic" damages such as pain and suffering cannot go above $250,000. However, damages such as medical expenses and loss of future earning capacity are not limited in the amount that can be awarded.

It is important for avoidable birth injuries to be evaluated for any possible legal claims. The legal rights of the baby and its parents should be fully protected.

Source: United Press International "Causes of U.S. death for those under 50," March 5, 2013

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