Help for New York Families Affected By Birth Defects

Every year, about a quarter of a million babies are born in the state of New York.

Mother and Child Reading

Between 3 and 4 percent of these children suffer from some type of physical or mental defect. Some come as a result of genetic factors, some are due to exposure to harmful chemicals or pharmaceutical drugs and others result from negligence on the part of physicians and medical staff.

Despite these sobering statistics, New York is rich in resources that offer information, support and guidance to parents who find themselves in this sad situation. Here are just a few.

Know the Resources Available

1. The state Department of Health’s Wadsworth Center, in Albany, conducts 11 million free newborn screenings annually to test for both commonly occurring birth defects and those that are more rare.More than 40 congenital conditions are detected annually by the 11 million tests performed by the center. While screening cannot cure a birth defect, it offers parents a chance to prepare a plan for treatment, rehabilitation and  optimal care for their child.

 2. The New York chapter of national organization Children and Youth with Special Healthcare Needs seeks to improve the system of healthcare for children in the state. It also works to shape New York’s public policy so that families are not prevented by finances or other factors from getting the best possible support for a child with special needs.When a child is diagnosed with a birth defect, CYSHCN can help guide families through neonatal and congenital diagnostic investigation, treatment of problems associated with congenital disorders and follow-up exams that continue until age 3.

baby's hand on mother's hand...

3. The Pregnancy Risk Network at Ferre Institute in Binghamton is a New York-focused teratogen information service. Teratogen is the technical term for any agent that disturbs the development of an embryo or fetus.The focus of the Pregnancy Risk Network is on communicating complicated terms (like this one) related to pregnancy risks in an understandable way.With access to authoritative research databases and national experts on the subject, the Pregnancy Risk Network reaches out to parents of all communities through family planning agencies, prenatal care programs, community health clinics and genetic services across the state to help expecting parents and brand-new parents find and interpret information about various kinds of risk exposure. They are committed to helping New York parents mitigate the impact of birth defects.

 4. The National Birth Defects Prevention Study is the largest study of birth defect causes in the U.S. Begun in 1996, the study has researched and tracked birth defect cases around the country and interviewed more than 35,000 women whose babies suffered from some form of birth defect.This knowledge helps physicians develop effective programs to treat and prevent birth defects. Their New York-based chapter collaborates with universities and hospitals to collect and assess information to help parents make informed medical decisions for their child.

You May Need Legal Help

Birth defects can be caused by prenatal exposure to pharmaceutical drugs — and expecting mothers are not always told of this risk. If you or a loved one have suffered from this, get the support you need to see you through this difficult time. Call the attorneys at The Oshman Firm at 800.400.8182 or fill out the contact form on the right side of this page. We can help you learn what your rights are, and fight to make sure you receive justice.

Ted Oshman


Ted Oshman has been with The Oshman Firm since 1988 serving clients for over 25 years. Learn more about Ted's background and featured practice areas here.

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