The use of certain prescription medications by expecting mothers during pregnancy has been linked to a rare abdominal birth defect known as omphalocele. This condition occurs when an infant’s intestine or other organs protrude out of the belly button, leading to lifelong pain and suffering for the affected child, as well as significant emotional and financial burden for the victim’s family. Prescription medications associated with omphalocele include antidepressants such as Paxil, Prozac and Zoloft, as well as the fertility drug Clomid.
Omphalocele Lawsuit Review: If you or somebody you know has a child who was born with an omphalocele after being exposed to a prescription medication in the womb, you should contact our lawyers immediately. Consultations are always free. Please use our confidential email contact form or call toll free 24 hrs/day by dialing (866) 588-0600.
Which drugs have been linked to omphalocele?
Taking certain prescription drugs during pregnancy can cause birth defects. Medications that have the potential to cause serious congenital abnormalities are called ‘teratogens.’ The following prescription medications have been linked to birth defects like omphalocele in babies born to mothers who took the drugs during pregnancy:
- Paxil (paroxetine)
- Zoloft (sertraline)
- Celexa (citalopram)
- Prozac (fluoxetine)
- Lexapro (escitalopram)
- Symbyax (fluoxetine and olanzapine)
- Wellbutrin (bupropion)
- Effexor (venlafaxine)
- Clomid (clomiphene citrate)
An omphalocele is a rare but extremely serious congenital (present at birth) defect that occurs when an infant’s intestines or other abdominal organs protrude from the belly button (navel). In babies born with this condition, the intestines are covered only by a thin layer of tissue and can easily be seen. An omphalocele is a type of hernia, which literally means ‘rupture.’
Omphaloceles typically first start to develop during the first trimester of pregnancy. The muscles in the abdominal wall (umbilical ring) fail to close properly in utero, and the intestines remain outside the umbilical cord. It has been estimated that approximately 25-40% of babies born with an omphalocele have other congenital birth defects. Other commonly reported abnormalities include genetic problems (chromosomal abnormalities), congenital diaphragmatic hernia, and heart defects.
Abdominal wall defects of this type typically vary in size from small to ‘giant,’ with small defects occurring in one out of every 5,000 to 6,000 births, and large or giant defects occurring in approximately one out of every 10,000 live births. A small omphalocele involves only a portion of the intestine protruding outside the body, while a giant omphalocele may have other organs such as the liver, spleen, or intestines herniated into the umbilical cord.
Complications of Omphaloceles
Before an omphalocele can be repaired, the affected child is at risk of developing an infection and damage to the tissues that are exposed outside the body. The most commonly reported complication associated with omphaloceles involve the underdevelopment of the abdominal cavity in which there isn’t sufficient room for the intestines to fit. When this occurs, a protective covering can be placed over the exposed intestines.
Infants born with an omphalocele are at risk of developing other serious problems, including:
- cardiac defects
- neural tube defects
- intestinal malrotation
- anomalies involving the intestinal tract
- chromosomal abnormalities
- trisomy 18
- Beckwith-Wiedeman Syndrome
- Pentalogy of Cantrell
The long-term outlook of these conditions largely depends on the size of the herniation and the presence or absence of other birth defects.
Treatment & Prognosis (Outlook)
Omphaloceles are typically repaired with surgical intervention, although not always immediately after birth. To repair this type of abdominal wall defect, the protruding sac is covered with a special man-made material which is stitched in place. Over time, the abdominal contents are slowly pushed back into the abdomen through the hole. When the organs have reached the point where they can comfortably fit into the abdominal cavity, the man-made material is removed and the defect is sewn up.
If the repair is successful, complete and total recovery is generally expected for the affected child. The long-term outlook for the patient depends on which other conditions he or she has. If the omphalocele is detected while the child is still in the womb, the expecting mother should be monitored closely to make sure the unborn baby remains healthy. Plans should be made for careful delivery and immediate management after birth, and the infant should be delivered at a facility that specializes in repairing abdominal wall defects. The child’s prognosis is greatly improved if he or she does not need to be moved to another treatment center during the process. The affected child should be screened for other congenital birth defects that are commonly associated with omphaloceles.
Is there a time limit in filing an omphalocele lawsuit?
Although we encourage all our potential clients to take great care in selecting their omphalocele lawyer, it is important that you understand that time is of the essence. The applicable statute of limitations in your state may time bar your claim. Furthermore, we are unable to provide you with legal advice without first evaluating your potential case. Accordingly, please take the time now to contact us by using the confidential email contact form below or by calling us toll free 24 hrs/day by dialing (866) 588-0600.
We hope we will be able to assist you with your potential omphalocele birth defects lawsuit and look forward to speaking with you.
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