A baby’s skeleton starts developing during the second trimester of pregnancy, when it changes from cartilage to bone, and then finally begins to form an adult-like skeleton. If there is an interruption in this process while the baby is developing in utero, the skeleton may fail to develop properly, resulting in one or more skeletal birth defects. Researchers have indicated that one possible cause of skeletal birth defects in babies is the use of certain pharmaceutical drugs in pregnancy. According to some studies, women who take certain medications, namely anticonvulsants or antidepressants, in pregnancy may have an increased risk of giving birth to children with major birth defects, including skeletal birth defects. If you took a pharmaceutical drug while pregnant and your baby was born with a skeletal birth defect, contact a birth defect attorney today, as your child may be entitled to lifetime care.
The two main types of skeletal birth defects are limb defects, like club foot, and defects of the skull, like craniosynostosis. Limb defects occur when an entire limb, or a portion of a limb, fails to develop properly in utero, resulting in malformations of a child’s leg, arm, hand, foot, fingers or toes. Club foot is a type of limb birth defect, occurring when one or both of a child’s feet are smaller than normal and internally rotated at the ankle. Skull defects are significantly more serious, resulting in the absence or underdevelopment of critical parts of the cranium, sometimes accompanied by damage to the brain. Craniosynostosis in particular is dangerous because the malformation prevents the skull from expanding to accommodate the growth of the brain.
Treatment for skeletal birth defects depends on the location and severity of the malformation. Limb defects, for example, can sometimes be treated successfully with surgery, or managed with the use of aids like prosthetics, orthotics, splints or braces. Long-term complications of limb defects may include limitations with certain movements, inability to perform certain tasks or participate in some activities, and requiring assistance for daily self-care. Defects of the skull however, usually require surgery to repair the malformation, which is not always possible. Lifelong complications of skull defects may include seizures, developmental delay and increased intracranial pressure.
The adverse effects of skeletal birth defects vary greatly depending on the type of malformation and how severely the appearance and function of the child’s skeleton are affected. Some skeletal defects can be effectively reversed with one or multiple surgeries, while others may lead to serious and potentially fatal complications. If you or a loved one has suffered from a skeletal birth defect and you believe a medication to be the cause, contact a birth defect attorney for help. You may have grounds to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against your doctor or the hospital charged with your care, in order to seek financial compensation for your injuries, medical bills, and pain and suffering. The main goal of birth defect attorneys is to help victims of birth defects protect their legal rights and pursue fair and timely reimbursement for their injuries. With the help of a qualified birth defect lawyer, you can do just that.