Omphalocele is an abdominal wall birth defect, which has been linked to certain medications when taken during pregnancy. The class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) is believed to increase the risk for certain birth defects in infants whose mothers took the drugs during their pregnancies.
If you were given an SRRI while you were pregnant and your baby is suffering from a birth defect such as omphalocele, you may be eligible to seek compensation for your baby's suffering. For more information, contact a birth defect lawyer at the Flood Law Group today.
What is Omphalocele?
Omphalocele is a birth defect. The intestines of babies born with omphalocele are outside the abdominal wall. They usually are covered with a thin tissue membrane through which it is easy to see the organs.
The defect occurs because the muscles of the abdominal wall fail to close properly and the intestines are outside of the umbilical cord. Between 25 and 40 percent of babies born with omphalocele also have other birth defects. These may be chromosomal abnormalities (genetic problems), defects of the diaphragm (a large muscle below the lungs), and heart defects.
In small omphaloceles, just the intestines protrude through the area of the bellybutton. If the omphalocele is large, the liver and spleen may stick out as well.
Treatment for Omphalocele
Omphaloceles are repaired surgically. Sometimes, the surgery is delayed to allow doctors to treat other defects first, such as heart problems. To correct an omphalocele, special artificial material is sewn in place over the transparent sac covering the defect. As time passes, the doctor presses the contents of the abdomen back into their natural location.
Once all of the abdominal contents are put in place, the artificial material is removed and the baby's own abdominal wall and skin are sewn in place. In cases where the omphalocele is too large to fit inside the abdomen, the baby's skin slowly grows over the omphalocele. When the child grows older, additional surgery may be done so that the area looks better.
Babies with omphaloceles are expected to recover completely. But because many of these infants also have other birth defects, their full recovery depends upon what these other defects are and how easily they can be corrected.
The optimal way to treat these babies is to be able to diagnose the problem before they are born. If doctors can see an omphalocele on an ultrasound, they can be better prepared at the time of delivery. The baby should be delivered and treated in a center where doctors have experience repairing these conditions. The results are better if the baby does not need to be taken to another medical facility for additional treatment.
If the omphalocele is known before the baby's birth, parents should consider the option of screening the baby for other birth defects as well and be prepared to treat them as necessary.
Will My Child Have Complications from Omphalocele?
If the infant has no other birth defects, the omphalocele should be fairly easy to treat. Complications may occur when other birth defects also are present.
SSRIs Might Be Linked to Omphaloceles
The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) Zoloft® has been associated with omphalocele. GlaxoSmithKline sent a letter to healthcare professionals in September 2005 saying that a study of infants born from 1997 to 2001showed that women who took an SSRI were more likely than those who were not exposed to have an infant with omphalocele. The letter said the strongest effect was with paroxetine (Paxil®).
If your baby is diagnosed with omphalocele, you can find out if you have a legal claim by speaking with an experienced birth defect attorney at our firm. We provide free case reviews for parents nationwide. To learn more, please contact us today.
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