Written by Andrew Sarski on January 8, 2011
However, when there is a problem during the early formation and closure of the neural tube, a neural tube defect occurs, affecting both the brain and spinal cord. One of the most rare and fatal forms of neural tube birth injury is iniencephaly, believed to comprise a little over one percent of all fetal abnormalities. Iniencephaly is a neural tube birth defect characterized by the backward bending of a child’s head. In some cases the retroflexion is so severe that the neck is absent and the skin of the face and scalp are connected directly to the skin of the chest and back. Infants with iniencephaly are typically very short and have abnormally large heads and major spinal distortions. Children born with this defect will likely suffer from other complications such as:
- Cyclopia – A defect in which a child is born with only one eye
- Cleft palate – A malformation resulting in an opening in the roof of the mouth
- Cleft lip – A vertical fissure in the lip
- Cardiovascular malformations – Abnormalities of the heart and blood vessels
- Hydrocephalus – The buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain
- Anecephaly – A neural tube defect characterized by the absence of parts of the skull, brain and scalp
- Cephalocele – A defect in which part of the cranial contents protrude through the skull
- Absence of the lower jaw
In some cases, other parts of the body may be affected, causing cardiovascular defects, gastrointestinal malformations and diaphragmatic hernias. The symptoms associated with this condition are so catastrophic that children with iniencephaly rarely live more than an hour after birth. Due to the severe distortion of an affected child’s body, the defect can also cause serious complications for the mother during birth.
Causes of Iniencephaly Birth Defects
In the past it was believed that neural tube defects like iniencephaly were the result of genetic conditions passed down from mother to child. However, more recent research has identified one of the most common causes of this condition as the use of pharmaceutical medications, namely anticonvulsant drugs, during pregnancy. These drugs can interfere with the normal development of a child’s vital organs in utero, potentially causing severe defects and life-threatening malformations. Because the central nervous system is developed so early in the process of fetal development, a women may cause significant, life-threatening harm to the fetus before she is even aware that she is pregnant.
Lawsuits for Iniencephaly Side Effects and Drug Injury Attorneys
There is currently no treatment for iniencephaly, but there are preventative measures that women can take to decrease the risk of this defect in children, including taking folic acid supplements. Defective drugs can cause serious side effects, including catastrophic birth defects in children, and even death. Children with iniencephaly are unlikely to survive past a few hours after birth, and if they do they will face major complications during that time. If you or a loved one has suffered from a birth injury like iniencephaly and pharmaceuticals are believed to be the cause, contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible. Many cases of birth injuries associated with the use of pharmaceutical drugs have led to class action lawsuits. You may be entitled to reimbursement for damages and an experienced lawyer can help you collect the compensation you deserve.