Childbirth is the greatest miracle of our lives. However, as any parent can attest, it can be a deeply frightening and precarious experience. Unfortunately, those dangers are sometimes magnified because of the irresponsibility or negligence of hospital workers, nurses, and doctors. In addition, while many births depend on sophisticated high-tech medical equipment, errors and defects in that equipment can also lead to injuries and even death. Lieff Cabraser has represented parents and their children in lawsuits against the manufacturers of allegedly defective hospital equipment as well as doctors, nurses and staff who behaved in an allegedly negligent or dangerous manner. If your child was born with a birth defect and you have reason to believe that the use of antidepressants, such as Zoloft, Lexapro, Cymbalta, Wellbutrin, Celexa, Pristiq, Effexor, or others before or during your pregnancy could have caused these injuries, you should promptly discuss this situation with a knowledgeable attorney. The birth defects lawyers of Lieff Cabraser have served parents whose sons or daughters have sustained life-altering injuries.
The use of antidepressants during pregnancy has been linked to a higher incidence of many birth defects, including:
- Heart defects: Septal heart defects can involve deformations or holes in the wall that separates the right and left sides of the heart. Studies indicate that newborns whose mothers take SSRIs during pregnancy face nearly double the risk of septal heart defects.
- Persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN): This condition occurs when an infant’s fetal circulation system fails to convert to newborn circulation. This condition causes the newborn’s blood to be insufficiently oxygenated, creating severe stress on internal organs. In between 10 percent to 20 percent of cases, PPHN is fatal.
- Craniosynostosis (skull defects): Craniosynostosis occurs when the joints in the child’s skull fuse prematurely. This condition can lead to a misshapen skull, and create pressure on the child’s brain, leading to developmental delays and a host of other problems.
- Cleft palate: SSRIs can disrupt or delay the development of a child’s skull, which can in turn lead to cleft palate and/or cleft lip. Women who are prescribed and take SSRIs in their first trimester are almost twice as likely to give birth to infants with cleft palate.
- Clubfoot: Clubfoot occurs when a child’s foot (or both feet) turns inward at the ankle. While clubfoot can be treated, this condition can create difficulty in moving and needless pain.
- Anal atresia: Anal atresia occurs when a newborn does not have an anal opening, or if the anal opening opens into the bladder or other organs. A newborn will require extensive surgeries to correct the condition.
Any of these birth defects can potentially cause profound physical and developmental delays. At Lieff Cabraser, we are tireless advocates for our clients. When we take on any case, you can be certain that we will undertake a complete investigation in order to determine the cause of your child’s birth defect.