Hypoplasia - Consumer Justice Foundation


Birth defects like hypoplasia may result in medical malpractice lawsuits being filed by victims. If you believe you have been adversely affected by a pharmaceutical drug, contact a birth defect attorney for legal guidance.

The birth defect hypoplasia is diagnosed in children in which an organ or tissue is underdeveloped or hasn’t developed completely because of an inadequate number of cells. Hypoplasia can affect virtually any tissue or organ in the body, including the heart (hypoplastic left heart syndrome), the optic nerve (optic nerve hypoplasia), and even the breasts, testes, lungs and teeth. Hypoplasia is a congenital birth defect, which means it occurs during pregnancy and is already present at birth. Because of this fact, one possible cause of hypoplasia is believed to be maternal use of certain medications in pregnancy. Studies have shown that women who take certain pharmaceutical drugs, particularly anticonvulsants, while pregnant may have an increased risk of giving birth to children with major birth defects, including hypoplasia. If you took a medication during pregnancy and your baby was born with hypoplasia, contact a birth defect attorney immediately.

Types of Hypoplasia

Hypoplasia can occur all over the body, but the three types of the birth defect believed to be linked to pharmaceutical drug use in pregnancy are hypoplasia of the fingers, nails and midface. Hypoplasia of the fingers is diagnosed in children who are born with absent or abnormally small fingers and/or thumbs; hypoplasia of the nails occurs when a child’s fingernails and/or toenails are underdeveloped or missing altogether; and hypoplasia of the midface describes a severely malformed upper jaw, cheekbones and eye sockets. In children born with hypoplasia of the midface, the rest of the face develops normally, which results in a protruding lower jaw and bulging eyes.

Hypoplasia Treatment and Complications

Because different kinds of hypoplasia, and the severity of each type, can vary so greatly from child to child, there is no single treatment method for the birth defect. Children born with hypoplasia of the fingers, for example, may require surgery to improve the appearance and function of the affected finger if it is slightly underdeveloped, or the structure may be removed during surgery if it is what is called a “floating finger,” containing no bones and attached to the hand only by skin. In hypoplasia of the nails, there is little that can be done to repair the malformation, which is more serious than it sounds. The fingernails and toenails not only protect the tips of the fingers and toes, but they also protect the nerve endings that exist there from harm. Treatment for hypoplasia of the nails is usually only supportive, focused on preventing infection and further damage to the nails.

In children born with hypoplasia of the midface, multiple reconstructive surgeries are typically required to restore the normal appearance of the face, and are performed over the course of several years. Unfortunately, this course of treatment is radical, and usually involves not only rebuilding the outward features of the face, but also reconstructing the underlying tissue, bone and muscle that ultimately give the face its shape. In addition to possibly causing serious pain and suffering, hypoplasia of the midface and its associated treatments can result in costly medical expenses.

Birth Defect Attorneys for Hypoplasia Side Effects

Consumers expect their doctors to prescribe them safe medications, notifying them of any possible side effects they may be exposing themselves to by taking the drug. Pregnant women in particular rely on the expertise of their physicians to protect them and their unborn children from harm. Unfortunately, poorly trained, distracted or negligent medical professionals can cause life-altering harm, especially if they prescribe potentially dangerous medications to pregnant women. If you or a loved one was born with hypoplasia and you believe a pharmaceutical drug to be the cause, 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 responsible for your care, in order to seek financial compensation for your injuries, medical bills, and pain and suffering. With the help of a qualified birth defect lawyer, you can pursue fair and timely reimbursement and protect yourself and your family from further harm.

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