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January is National Birth Defects Month

A baby

In the U.S., about 1 in 33 babies is born with a birth defect each year, according to the March of Dimes. This makes birth defects the leading cause of infant mortality in the United States, accounting for over 20% of all related deaths.  Several factors have an impact on how a child is born with a birth defect and whether that defect could have been prevented. Critical evaluations of the biological parents’ genetics, medications mom may have been prescribed, social and environmental factors, and prenatal care and physician choices all could play a role. Not to be confused with a birth injury, not all birth defects are preventable.

  • Birth Defects: A birth defect is a health condition that is present at birth. Defects can cause serious problems in a baby’s overall health, how his body develops, and how his/her body works, according to the March of Dimes.
  • Birth Injuries: A birth injury is defined as the structural destruction or functional deterioration of the neonate’s body due to a traumatic event at birth. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Some of these injuries are avoidable when appropriate care is available, and others are part of the delivery process that can occur even when clinicians practice extreme caution.”

Babies born with birth defects have a higher chance of disease and chronic illness and long-term disability than babies without birth defects.

Can the Wrong Prescription Drugs Cause Birth Defects?

Sometimes, evidence can show a birth defect was caused by the medical negligence of a doctor, physician, pharmacist or hospital system for administering or prescribing dangerous drugs to a pregnant woman. For example, if a baby’s birth defects can be linked to exposure to prescription drugs prescribed by the obstetrical team or if a pharmacist provided by the wrong dose or wrong drug, this is the time to request advice or representation from a lawyer.

Some drugs and chemicals commonly linked to causing birth defects in a growing fetus may include:

  • ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors
  • Paxil
  • Lithium
  • Tetracycline
  • High Doses of Vitamin A
  • Warfarin
  • Accutane
  • Anticonvulsant Medications
  • Cancer-fighting Medications (some)
  • Isotretinoin (an acne drug)
  • Bisphenol A
  • Dibutyl Phthalate, and Perchloroethylene
  • Antibiotics (some)
  • Thyroid Medications (some)
  • Thalidomide
  • Sleeping Pills (some)
  • Diethylstilbestrol (DES)

Premature birth or a birth that happens before 37 completed weeks of pregnancy can be one sign of dangerous prescription drug exposure. Babies born with low birthweights, a reduced head circumference, heart defects and defects related to how a child’s body developed have also been identified in prescription drug overuse or improper use.

Contact a Chicago Birth Injury Attorney for Help

The Illinois birth injury attorneys at Levin & Perconti have taken on every role in life and are uniquely positioned to understand parental worries and sensitive needs. We can be relied on to get answers, settle disputes, and earn you compensation for economic losses, physical and emotional damage to your quality of life, and even the lost life of a child. When you are ready, please do not hesitate to call us at 312-332-2872 or toll-free at 877-374-1417.

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