Lung Defects in Prenatal Development

Lung defects in prenatal development can cause serious injury to a newborn baby and may be the result of certain prescription drugs being taken during pregnancy.  Contact an attorney today if your child was born with lung defects and you suspect a medication to be the cause.

During the early stages of prenatal development, an infant's lungs begin to develop and will continue to grow throughout pregnancy, even though the lungs won't actually be used until the baby is born. While the child is still in the womb the lungs are not yet needed, as the placenta provides the baby with oxygen through the umbilical cord. Because the lungs aren't required to exchange oxygen in utero, the baby's circulation bypasses the lungs and the pulmonary artery sends blood directly back to the heart through a fetal blood vessel called the ductus arteriosus. Under normal circumstances, when a child is born, the body adjusts to breathing outside the womb and pressure in the lungs changes as air enters and inflates the lungs. Unfortunately, in a child born with a lung defect, such as persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), any number of side effects can occur, preventing the child from properly oxygenating the blood circulating throughout the body.

Some lung defects are characterized by absent or underdeveloped portions of the lungs. In PPHN in particular, the child's body fails to make this critical change after birth and the circulation continues to bypass the lungs, preventing oxygen from the breathed air from reaching the bloodstream. Studies have shown that the use of certain pharmaceutical drugs during pregnancy can interfere with lung growth during prenatal development, resulting in fetal malformations like lung defects. If you took a pharmaceutical drug while pregnant and your child was born with a lung defect, contact a lung defect attorney immediately. Your child may be entitled to lifetime care or financial compensation for his injuries, which you can collect by filing a lung defect lawsuit against the liable drug company.

Lung Defect Symptoms

Lung defects are extremely dangerous, as they can prevent oxygenated blood from being distributed to the body's tissues and vital organs. In PPHN for example, the child can breathe, but the oxygen in the breathed air will not enter the bloodstream. Because of this, child born with a lung defect like PPHN may exhibit symptoms like:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Respiratory distress
  • Cyanosis (bluish tint to the skin)

Because a sufficient amount of oxygen isn't being carried by the blood to other areas of the body that need it, the child's organs, including the heart, kidneys, brain and liver, may suffer irreversible damage from lack of oxygen.

Lung Defect Treatment and Prognosis

Lung defects like PPHN require immediate treatment and intensive monitoring. The main goal of lung defect treatment is to increase the level of oxygen being delivered to the rest of the body in order to avoid organ damage. In the case of PPHN, treatment may include oxygen administration, assisted ventilation, nitric oxide administration to improve blood flow to the lungs, high frequency oscillatory ventilation to improve oxygen flow to the lungs, and Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation in instances of severe heart and lung failure. Due to the severity of lung defects like PPHN, even children who receive immediate treatment may continue to deliver an inadequate amount of oxygen to the body's tissues, potentially resulting in devastating side effects like heart failure, shock, seizures, brain hemorrhage, kidney failure and even death.

Lung Defect Attorneys for Side Effects

Treatment for lung defects like PPHN is extensive and can result in costly medical bills, which may be an overwhelming financial burden for many families. Even with treatment, periods of inadequate oxygenation can cause long-term side effects for infants, including recurring breathing difficulties and some types of chronic lung diseases. Some children may suffer from neurological deficits due to a lack of oxygen delivered to the brain, developmental delay and seizure disorders. If you or a loved one has suffered from a lung defect and you believe a pharmaceutical drug to be the cause, contact a lung defect attorney today to discuss your legal options. You may be entitled to financial compensation for your injuries and medical expenses, which you can collect by filing a lung defect lawsuit against the drug company responsible for your injuries. Victims of dangerous drug-related injuries are not at fault; by contacting an experienced lung defect lawyer, you can ensure that your rights are being protected and collect the compensation you deserve.

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