Congenital Malformation Birth Defect Lawyers Representing the Black Community

Black women have long suffered from birth disparities in the United States, and it seems that the world is finally noticing. This is good news if you’re one of the 22 percent of Black women who have reported discrimination at doctor’s offices and health clinics — which of course doesn’t make up for any injuries you or your baby may have suffered due to medical negligence or malpractice.

Babies born to Black women have congenital malformation risks specific to them which competent and caring health professionals should be on the lookout for, cutting across income brackets and education levels. When negligence is added to these risks, it can push the chances of such problematic outcomes higher.


What Birth Defects Are More Likely to Occur in the Black Population?

Although Black newborns are less likely than the average American baby to be affected by congenital malformations, there are still some specific risks for doctors to be aware of. 

One that’s been gaining steam recently is called gastroschisis — a serious birth defect where an infant’s intestines form outside of the abdominal wall, which must be treated with emergency surgery. Recent reporting found that the danger for this birth defect has been exploding, rising at a rate of 263 percent for non-Hispanic Black women under age 21.

Other birth defects that plague the Black community at higher rates than other Americans include:

  • Congenital hip dislocation: When a child is born with an unstable hip, it can worsen over time to severely restrict movement.
  • Congenital foot anomalies: These abnormalities may include clubfoot, “rocker deformities” (over-corrected clubfoot), flatfoot, metatarsus varus and pes cavus.
  • Encephalocele: A sac-like protrusion or projection of the brain and the membranes that cover it through an opening in the skull.
  • Trisomy 18: Also called Edwards syndrome, this condition causes severe developmental delays due to an extra chromosome, and is often fatal.

What Proper Medical Care for Those at Risk Should Look Like

An attentive doctor should be proactive in prescribing interventions for Black women at risk of having children with birth defects. Congenital malformations like clubfoot and other physiological abnormalities will require a course of immediate physical therapy for newborn infants to correct them; more serious birth defects like encephalocele and gastroschisis will require emergency surgery and long-term treatment.

Doctors must be prepared for these possibilities and communicate next steps to women at risk. Failure to mount timely interventions can lead to lifelong consequences for both mother and child.

In addition, a good doctor will caution pregnant women on the following:

  • The CDC recommends that women in early stages of pregnancy take 400 micrograms of the B vitamin folic acid to help prevent birth defects
  • Mothers who smoke, drink alcohol or do drugs during pregnancy may stand a higher chance of having birth defects
  • Workplaces which expose pregnant women to harmful chemicals may be responsible for eventual birth defects

How Medical Malpractice Can Compound Birth Defect Risks for Black Women

A good doctor must be knowledgeable about the risks for birth defects specific to Black women, and be attentive to their responsibility to provide a top standard of duty of care for Black mothers-to-be. When this duty of care comes into contact with the high barriers to proper medical access for Black women — including the greater financial challenges that go along with the 21 percent less on average Black women are paid than white women — it can constitute a form of malpractice called patient abandonment.

The risk of the medical system failing Black women grows for younger prospective mothers. Although the risks of our healthcare system for pregnant Black women are pervasive, in some situations they are worse than others. In New York City, for instance, recent data suggests that Black women are 12 times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related causes.


When to Consult with a Lawyer Experienced in Discrimination

Lee Merritt, Esq. is a longtime leader and influential voice in the fight for Social Justice, representing high-profile civil rights cases like that of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man recently shot and killed while jogging in Georgia. 

A dedicated civil rights activist and trial attorney, Mr. Merritt runs a distinguished national practice focusing on victims of police brutality, hate crimes and corporate discrimination. As an activist, he has championed police reform and community empowerment. His office has led the way to reform in Texas, a state notorious for its failure to prosecute police officers, successfully advocating for the first murder indictments of officers in the state in over 40 years.

There are many more battles to fight on behalf of those who have suffered from the institutional racism that affects Black mothers. For a free consultation please fill out our form, write [email protected] or call us directly at 1-800-590-4116.

About S. Lee Merritt

Civil Rights Lawyer

Lee Merritt, Esq. is emerging as a leading and influential new voice in the fight for Social Justice. A dedicated civil rights activist and trial attorney, Merritt runs a high profile national practice focusing on victims of police brutality, hate crimes and corporate discrimination. As an activist, he has championed police reform and community empowerment. 

Do you need more information or want to help? 

Our organization can help mothers and their families who have faced medical issues during pregnancy learn about the resources available to them, as well as learn about what action they may be able to take legally due to discriminatory health practices.  Contact us below by email or phone and our team can learn more about your situation and give you free and friendly advice.

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