Anal atresia, or imperforate anus, is a congenital birth defect in which the opening to the anus is missing or blocked, preventing stools from leaving the body properly. In some cases of anal atresia, the rectum may end in a blind pouch that doesn’t connect with the colon. In others, the rectum may have openings to the bladder, urethra, base of the penis or scrotum in boys, or the vagina in girls. Anal atresia occurs as a result of the abnormal development of a fetus in utero, and affects approximately one in every 5,000 babies. Although the exact cause of anal atresia is largely unknown, researchers have established a possible link between the use of certain antidepressant medications in pregnancy and the development of anal atresia among children. If your child was born with anal atresia and you believe a medical error to be the cause, contact a qualified birth defect attorney to discuss your child’s potential entitlement to lifetime care.
Due to the malformation of the anus and/or rectum, children born with anal atresia typically suffer from symptoms like:
Children born with anal atresia require surgery to correct the defect. Surgery is used to reconnect the abnormal bowel, create an anal opening, dilate a constricted anus, or create a colostomy. In some cases, multiple surgeries are needed to fully repair the malformation. Children who have more complex surgeries typically have control over their bowel movements, although they may need to follow a bowel program, which includes taking stool softeners, eating high-fiber foods and sometimes using enemas. Complications possibly associated with anal atresia birth defects include intestinal blockage, bowel incontinence and constipation. Unfortunately, many forms of anal atresia also occur with other birth defects, which is why affected children should be tested for other malformations, particularly those of the spine, genitals and urinary tract.
Although most children with anal atresia who receive prompt treatment make a full recovery, the necessary procedures and medical care associated with this birth defect are likely to lead to a significant financial burden, on top of the physical and emotional suffering sustained by the affected child. If you or a loved one has suffered from anal atresia, which you believe to be the result of a medical mistake, contact an experienced birth defect attorney to discuss your legal options. You may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the Ob/Gyn, hospital or doctor charged with your care, in order to pursue financial compensation for your injuries, medical bills, and pain and suffering. You are not at fault for any injuries potentially caused by the negligence or poor training of a healthcare provider. With the expertise of a birth defect lawyer, you can protect your rights and collect the compensation you deserve.