Birth Defect Lawyer | Medical Malpractice Lawsuit Attorney
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It can be difficult for parents to understand the causes of why their baby was born with birth defects. These questions may be difficult for anyone to answer. Although the causes of many birth defects are unknown, many studies have found links between birth defects and certain medications and chemicals. These studies have brought parents into courtrooms asking for answers.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), birth defects are serious conditions that are changes to the structure of one or more parts of the body. Birth defects can range from mild to severe, and the seriousness of the defect often depends on the area of the body affected. Each year, 1 in every 33 babies is born with a birth defect. That is one baby every 4.5 minutes, and approximately 120,000 babies every year in the United States alone.
One of the last things new parents may consider when their child has an issue is to file a birth defect lawsuit. Many people think that birth defects are completely natural and can happen to any child, but a good birth defect lawyer can determine the difference between nature taking its course and negligence on someone’s part.
If you believe your child’s birth defect was caused by a negligent medical profession, give us a call today. A qualified Birth Defect Lawyer from our firm will be able to help guide you through the legal process.
Common Birth Defects
- Cleft Palate
- Club Foot
- Fusion of fingers, toes or limbs
- Congenital Heart Defects (Heart abnormalities)
- Septal Heart Defects (Hole in the heart)
- Fetal death/stillborn
- Mental Retardation/Down Syndrome
- Brain and Skull Deformities
- Spina Bifida
- Hypoplastic Heart Syndrome
- Persistent Pulmonary Hypertension (PPHN)
- Many more
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.
Teratogenic medications can cause birth defects in three ways: 1) they can damage the fetus directly; 2) they can damage the placenta or umbilical cord, thus increasing the risk of birth defects; and 3) they can cause uterine contractions that can injure the fetus or cause premature delivery.
The following are just some of the drugs that are known to cause birth defects:
- – Antibiotics: While penicillins, cephalosporins, and erythromycins are generally considered safe, tetracyclines, sulfa drugs, ciprofloxacin, and other antibiotics can cause birth defects when taken by a pregnant woman.
- – Benzodiazepines: Tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and anti-anxiety drugs can cause problems in newborns including breathing, temperature regulation, and muscle problems.
- – Accutane and related dermatological drugs: Accutane poses an extremely serious risk of birth defects or death. This drug should never be used by a pregnant woman under any circumstances. Soriatane is also a dermatological drug that is extremely harmful to a developing fetus, and should not be used by any woman for three years prior to conception.
- – NSAIDS: Aspirin and other drugs in the same family (salicylates) can cause birth complications and birth defects when used late in pregnancy.
- – Antidepressants
- – Paxil: In 2005, the FDA warned that Paxil can double the risk of heart birth defects when used during the first trimester of pregnancy.
- – Prozac: In 2006, a major study found that Prozac also doubled the risk of delivering a child with the birth defect PPHN (Primary Pulmonary Hypertension).
- – Anti-cancer drugs: Teratogens such as Bulsulfan, Chlorambucil, Cyclophosphamide, Mercaptopurine, and Methotrexate can cause serious birth defects including cleft palate, underdevelopment, other physical defects and mental retardation.
- – Anti-seizure medications: Anticonvulsants such as Toprimate and Valproate can cause serious birth defects including spina bifida, organ deformities, cleft palate, and facial defects.
- – Certain thyroid medications
- – Sex hormones
- – Blood pressure drugs
- – Asthma medications
- – Live Vaccines
- – Lithium
- – Thalidomide
While some birth defects can be partially or completely corrected by surgery, others are not treatable and a child live with the challenges of the defect their entire life. Parents may also be responsible for ongoing medical care and assistance for the child.
These birth defects can cause hardship on the baby and parents and can even cause the loss of the baby. One of the culprits are medications prescribed to women.
Medications linked to Birth Defects
Here is a list of medications that studies have shown to be linked to birth defects in babies.
What Causes Birth Defects?
Some birth defects are caused by genetics. Medical scientists are still trying to determine the true origins of many of these defects, but conditions such as Down syndrome come from a genetic abnormality in one or both of the parents. A mother who drinks alcohol or takes illegal drugs during her pregnancy is putting her child at serious risk for birth defects. Smoking cigarettes during a pregnancy can cause problems to develop for the child as well. Another cause of birth defects can be improper medical treatment during pregnancy. A doctor who prescribes a medication that is known to cause birth defects or prescribes a dosage that is dangerous to the developing child can cause birth defects. Employers who knowingly put pregnant women in situations where they can be exposed to chemicals that can be harmful to the child can also be negligent. A good birth defects lawyer can help to separate all of these situations and determine if a birth defect was caused by someone’s negligence or by genetics.
Failure to Diagnose Birth Defects
In some cases, a birth defect may be so severe that parents may make the extremely difficult decision to terminate the pregnancy. This can avoid health risks to the mother, unnecessary pain and suffering of the child, and more. Medical professionals should carefully screen for birth defects as part of a mother’s prenatal care.
If a medical professional should have identified a severe birth defect and failed to do so, parents may be able to hold the doctor liable for their unnecessary losses by filing a medical malpractice claim. If you want to discuss whether you may have a malpractice claim involving your child’s birth defect, please call a Birth Defect Lawyer from our firm to discuss your case today.
Birth Defect Lawyer: How The Carlson Law Firm Can Help
If you or someone you know has a child with birth defects after taking any of these medications, contact a birth defect lawyer immediately. The Carlson Law Firm is equipped with a defective drug department that may be able to help you receive compensation for your losses. Contact us for a free consultation to see if you have a case.