Congenital Hypothyroidism - Consumer Justice Foundation

Congenital Hypothyroidism

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Victims of congenital hypothyroidism birth defects may have rights to legal compensation through a medical malpractice lawsuit. Contact a birth defect attorney today if you have been the victim of a medical error.

Congenital hypothyroidism is a condition present at birth in which a child suffers from inadequate or nonexistent thyroid hormone production. The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped tissue in the lower neck, which makes iodine-containing hormones that play an important part in regulating growth, metabolism and brain development. In 80-85% of cases of congenital hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland is absent, abnormally located, or severely reduced in size. In other instances, a normal-sized or enlarged thyroid gland is present, but production of the hormone is decreased or absent. According to studies of populations from North America, congenital hypothyroidism affects 1 in 3,000 to 4,000 newborns, and is inexplicably present in twice as many females as males. If your child was born with congenital hypothyroidism, and you believe a medical error to be the cause, discuss your legal options with an experienced birth defect attorney today.

Congenital Hypothyroidism Symptoms

Most infants with this birth defect will exhibit no symptoms because their thyroid hormone level is only slightly decreased. However, infants with severe congenital hypothyroidism often present with symptoms like a puffy face, dull look, and a thick tongue that sticks out. This abnormal appearance typically worsens as the disease progresses, and may be accompanied by symptoms like:

  • Constipation
  • Jaundice
  • Choking episodes
  • Poor feeding
  • Sluggishness
  • Lack of muscle tone

Congenital Hypothyroidism Treatment and Outlook

Early diagnosis and treatment of congenital hypothyroidism is critical, and most of the effects of hypothyroidism are easy to reverse. In fact, newborns who are diagnosed and treated in the first month or so usually have normal intelligence. Unfortunately, untreated mild hypothyroidism can lead to severe mental retardation and growth retardation in children. Some children with this condition may also suffer from heart problems. The nervous system goes through important stages of development during the during the first few months after birth, and a lack of thyroid hormone can cause irreversible damage in children.

Birth Defect Attorneys for Congenital Hypothyroidism Injuries

Studies have shown that if pregnant women take radioactive iodine for thyroid cancer, the child’s thyroid gland may be destroyed in utero. If you or a loved one has suffered from congenital hypothyroidism, which you believe to be the result of medical malpractice, contact a qualified birth defect attorney to explore your compensation options. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, and medical expenses, which you can collect by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the allegedly negligent Ob/Gyn, doctor or hospital responsible for your care. Congenital hypothyroidism can lead to growth failure and permanent mental retardation among affected children; with the help of an experienced birth defect lawyer, you can protect your child’s rights and collect the compensation necessary to ensure your child receives the medical care he needs now and in the future.

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