Hydranencephaly is a severe neural tube birth defect in which a baby’s cerebral hemispheres are absent at birth, replaced by sacs of cerebrospinal fluid instead. The neural tube is a structure that forms in the early stages of pregnancy and becomes the foundation for the child’s central nervous system. When the neural tube fails to close properly during fetal development, neural tube defects like hydranencephaly may occur. The adverse effects of hydranencephaly typically occur in the second trimester of pregnancy, after the brain and ventricles have already formed. A possible cause of hydranencephaly has been reported as exposure of the fetus to a toxic substance, possibly a medication taken by the mother during pregnancy. If you took a pharmaceutical drug while pregnant and your child was born with a birth defect like hydranencephaly, contact a birth defect attorney for legal help.
In some cases a hydranencephaly diagnosis isn’t made right away, as the child may appear unaffected at birth. Some babies born with hydranencephaly exhibit spontaneous reflexes at birth, like crying, swallowing and sucking, and some may even have a normal-sized head. However, a few weeks after birth, the baby will become extremely irritable and will begin to experience increased muscle tone. After several months, the child may begin to suffer from seizures and may also exhibit symptoms of hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid in the brain. Other symptoms commonly associated with hydranencephaly include blindness, paralysis, deafness and severe intellectual deficits.
Due to the severity of hydranencephaly, there is currently no cure for the birth defect, and any available treatment is only supportive. For the most part, the prognosis for children born with hydranencephaly is poor, and few children with the birth defect live past their first year. A small percentage of affected individuals live into their teens and twenties, although they typically suffer from mental impairment requiring constant care throughout their lives.
Neural tube birth defects like hydranencephaly are some of the most common types of birth defects, and are also some of the most devastating. If you or a loved one has suffered from hydranencephaly, which you believe to be caused by a pharmaceutical drug, contact a birth defect attorney to discuss your legal options. You may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor or hospital charged with your care, in order to pursue financial compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. No child should be forced to struggle with life-threatening side effects caused by a dangerous pharmaceutical drug. Hire an experienced birth defect lawyer today and protect yourself from further harm.