Omphalocele Side Effects Lawsuit

January 21, 2011

Many of the most severe side effects associated with the use of  SSRI Antidepressants such as Zoloft (sertraline), Paxil (paroxetine), Prozac (fluoxetine), Lexapro (escitalopram) and Celexa (citalopram) are congenital birth defects,  including: Congenital Heart Defects, Congenital Lung Defects, Congenital Abdominal Wall Defects, Congenital Cranio-facial Defects,and other birth defects and malformations affecting various other areas of the child’s anatomy.

SSRI Antidepressant Abdominal Wall Birth Defects

According to studies, there is an over 800% increased risk of giving birth to a child with Omphalocele when a woman has been prescribed and taken SSRI Antidepressants such as Zoloft (sertraline), Paxil (paroxetine), Prozac (fluoxetine), Lexapro (escitalopram) and Celexa (citalopram) during her pregnancy.  Omphalocele is an abdominal wall birth defect that occurs when an infant’s intestine or other abdominal organs protrude out of the navel. SSRI Antidepressant use during pregnancy has also been linked to cranio-facial malformations, as well as limb deformities and the birth defect known as Clubfoot.

What is an Omphalocele?

An omphalocele is an abdominal wall birth defect in which the infant’s intestine or other abdominal organs stick out of the belly button (navel). In babies with an omphalocele, the intestines are covered only by a thin layer of tissue and can be easily seen.  An omphalocele is a type of hernia. Hernia means “rupture.”

Causes

An omphalocele develops as a baby grows inside the mother’s womb. The muscles in the abdominal wall (umbilical ring) do not close properly.  As a result, the intestine remains outside the umbilical cord. Approximately 25 – 40% of infants with an omphalocele have other birth defects. They may include genetic problems (chromosomal abnormalities), congenital diaphragmatic hernia, and heart defects.

Symptoms

An omphalocele can be clearly seen, because the abdominal contents stick out (protrude) through the belly button area.  There are different sizes of omphaloceles. In small ones, only the intestines stick out. In larger ones, the liver or spleen may stick out of the body as well.

Exams and Tests

Prenatal ultrasounds often identify infants with an omphalocele before birth. Otherwise, a physical examination of the infant is enough for your health care provider to diagnose this condition. Testing is usually not necessary.

Treatment

Omphaloceles are repaired with surgery, although not always immediately. A sac protects the abdominal contents and allows time for other more serious problems (such as heart defects) to be dealt with first, if necessary.  To fix an omphalocele, the sac is covered with a special man-made material, which is then stitched in place. Slowly, over time, the abdominal contents are pushed into the abdomen.  When the omphalocele can comfortably fit within the abdominal cavity, the man-made material is removed and the abdomen is closed.  Sometimes the omphalocele is so large that it cannot be placed back inside the infant’s abdomen. The skin around the omphalocele grows and eventually covers the omphalocele.  The abdominal muscles and skin can be repaired when the child is older to achieve a better cosmetic outcome.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Complete recovery is expected after surgery for an omphalocele. However, omphaloceles often occur with other birth defects. How well a child does depends on which other conditions the child also has.  If the omphalocele is identified before birth, the mother should be closely monitored to make sure the unborn baby remains healthy. Plans should be made for careful delivery and immediate management of the problem after birth. The baby should be delivered in a medical center that is skilled at repairing omphaloceles. The baby’s outcome is improved if he or she does not need to be taken to another center for further treatment.  Parents should consider screening their unborn baby for other genetic problems that are associated with this condition.

Possible Complications:

Death of the intestinal tissue
Intestinal infection

When to Contact a Medical Professional

This problem is diagnosed and repaired in the hospital at birth. After returning home, call your health care provider if the infant develops any of these symptoms:

Decreased bowel movements
Feeding problems
Fever
Green or yellowish green vomit
Swollen belly area
Vomiting (different than normal baby spit-up)
Worrisome behavioral changes

SSRI Class Action Lawsuit vs. Individual SSRI Lawsuit

There are distinct differences between an SSRI Antidepressant (Zoloft – sertraline, Paxil – paroxetine, Prozac – fluoxetine, Lexapro – escitalopram and Celexa – citalopram) class action lawsuit and a more typical individual SSRI lawsuit. A SSRI class action lawsuit would be a form of SSRI lawsuit in which a large group of people (plaintiffs) collectively bring a lawsuit to court in the form of a “class action” against the manufacturers of the SSRI antidepressant (defendant). In a class action lawsuit involving personal injury, resulting from defective products such as antidepressant SSRI drugs like Zoloft (sertraline), Paxil (paroxetine), Prozac (fluoxetine), Lexapro (escitalopram) and Celexa (citalopram), all SSRI lawsuit plaintiffs would typically be grouped together into a single SSRI class action lawsuit, regardless of the degree or severity of their birth defect injuries. In this type of SSRI class action lawsuit, plaintiffs with injuries ranging from minor defects not requiring surgery, all the way to the most severe congenital heart defects, requiring multiple surgeries or a complete heart transplant, would be grouped into one single SSRI class action lawsuit. All plaintiffs in the class would equally share any award or settlement resulting from the SSRI class action lawsuit.

In SSRI antidepressant lawsuits involving catastrophic injury or death, an individual lawsuit, in most cases, is more appropriate and in the plaintiff’s best interest. SSRI antidepressants like Zoloft, Prozac, Celexa, Lexapro and Paxil, have been linked to some of the severe congenital heart, lung and abdoninal wall defects listed above, including: omphaloceles, PPHN, atrial septal defects (ASD – hole in the heart), ventricular septal defects (VSD – hole in the heart), tetrology of fallot (ToF), hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS), transposition of the great arteries (TGA or TOGA), patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), total anomalous pulmonary venous return (TAPVR), double outlet right ventricle (DORV), and coarctation of the aorta (CoA). SSRI antidepressant cases such as these are better suited to an individual SSRI antidepressant lawsuit because of the severity and degree of injury to the plaintiff. In an individual SSRI lawsuit, each plaintiff’s case is filed, presented and considered individually, based on its own strength and degree of injury.

In many cases involving SSRI antidepressants like Zoloft, Prozac, Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil and the serious congenital defects related to these SSRI antidepressants, surgery is required. Surgery will typically be required when a child is an infant or toddler and then again, potentially multiple times, as the child grows to maturity. In many cases, with surgery and medical care, children may be able to lead mostly normal and productive lives. An individual SSRI lawsuit allows each SSRI victim, their injuries and their future needs to be considered on an individual basis when determining damages, awards and settlement amounts, and not as part of a class action lawsuit.

Speak to an SSRI Lawyer about an SSRI Birth Defect Lawsuit

If you took Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine), Zoloft (sertraline), Celexa (citalopram), Lexapro (escitalopram) or any another SSRI antidepressant drug during pregnancy and your child was born with a congenital heart, lung, abdominal wall or other birth defect, we encourage you to contact an SSRI Antidepressant Lawsuit Attorney at our law firm immediately. It may be too late to recover from the devastating effects of Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, Lexapro and Celexa but an experienced pharmaceutical products liability lawyer at the Willis Law Firm can assist you in legal action against the makers of these dangerous antidepressant drugs. You are not alone. Join other birth defect victims and their families in speaking up and fighting for your legal rights.

Please fill out our free online legal evaluation form and we will contact you within 24 hours, or call our offices at 1-800-883-9858 for immediate help. Please keep in mind that certain states have statutes of limitation that limit the amount of time you have to file a lawsuit or seek legal action. Contact our law firm immediately so that we may explain the rights and options available to you and your family.

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