Gastroschisis and Omphalocele - Consumer Justice Foundation

Gastroschisis and Omphalocele

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Gastroschisis and Omphalocele

Abdominal birth defects like gastroschisis and omphalocele can have life-altering consequences for affected children. If you have been the victim of a medical mistake which led to omphalocele or gastroschisis, contact a birth defect attorney today to discuss a medical malpractice lawsuit.

Gastroschisis and omphalocele are two types of congenital birth defects affecting the formation of a child’s abdominal wall during fetal development. Gastroschisis is characterized by a defect in the anterior abdominal wall, through which the abdominal contents freely protrude. An omphalocele is similar to this malformation in nature, but is much larger and occurs when an infant’s intestines and other abdominal organs protrude from the naval, covered only by a thin layer of tissue. Although children born with an omphalocele or gastroschisis have a good chance of making a full recovery with treatment, there are a number of serious complications associated with both abdominal birth defects. If your child was born with gastroschisis or an omphalocele, which you believe to be the result of a medical error, seek legal guidance from an experienced birth defect attorney, as your child may be entitled to lifetime care.

Abdominal Defect Symptoms

Gastroschisis and omphalocele are two types of abdominal defects, or hernias, affecting newborn children. In babies with an omphalocele, the muscles in the abdominal wall fail to close properly during fetal development, allowing the intestines to remain outside the umbilical cord. In severe cases, the liver and spleen may also be involved. In children born with gastroschisis, the small intestine and a portion of the large intestine spill out into the amniotic fluid space around the fetus, putting them at risk of suffering damage. Common symptoms of gastroschisis include:

  • Lump in the abdomen
  • Intestine sticks through the abdomen wall near the umbilical cord

As a result of the herniation in children with gastroschisis, the unprotected bowel may be damaged and not function properly after delivery. High-risk pregnancies, such as those complicated by infection, smoking or young maternal age, can increase the incidence of gastroschisis, which is more common in newborns who are small for their gestational age.

Abdominal Defect Treatment and Complications

Children born with gastroschisis typically require surgery to repair the defect and return the extra-abdominal bowel to the abdominal cavity, after which the abdomen is closed. In instances of omphaloceles, an artificial material is placed over the abdomen and stitched in place, gradually pushing the abdomen contents back into place over time. Once this is achieved, the man-made material can be removed and the abdomen can be closed. Most infants who undergo omphalocele surgery make a full recovery, although some children may suffer from complications like death of the intestinal tissue and intestinal infection. Children with gastroschisis may also be at risk of struggling with serious complications, including bowel death and breathing problems caused by the baby’s inability to expand his lungs.

Birth Defect Attorneys for Omphalocele and Gastroschisis

Approximately 25-40% of children with an omphalocele struggle with additional birth defects, including heart defects, congenital diaphragmatic hernia, and genetic problems. Because gastroschisis exposes the fetus’ intestines to the amniotic fluid and are unprotected during pregnancy, there is an increased risk for complications during the third trimester, including bowel dilatation, preterm delivery, decreased fetal growth and amniotic fluid volume, and a slight risk of fetal death. If you or a loved one has suffered from an omphalocele or gastroschisis, and you believe a medical mistake to be the cause, contact an experienced birth defect attorney for legal help. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries, pain and suffering, and medical bills, which you can collect by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the doctor, Ob/Gyn or hospital in charge of your care. No child should be forced to undergo medical treatment for serious birth defects; by hiring a qualified birth defect lawyer to represent your case, you can protect your rights and seek fair and timely reimbursement for your birth defect.

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