The USA Today reported on Wednesday on troubling new information about the effect that medications may have on infants when taken by pregnant mothers. Medical authorities agree that there has been a tremendous surge in these cases, constituting a silent epidemic of birth injuries of which many are unaware. All observers agree that this issue needs more attention so that future innocent victims of their mother’s addictions can be spared.
Through the years of working with families whose children have been hurt during the birthing process or while in utero, our Chicago injury lawyers have come to appreciate the wide range of situations in which harm can befall new babies. It is often helpful to think of birth defects and injuries falling into various categories: those developed in utero that cannot be prevented, those developed in utero because of specific conduct on the part of mothers/doctors, and those caused by problems during birth itself. In the legal context, most birth injuries lawsuits are rooted in the last category. That is the case because it is during the birthing process itself that families most often cede complete control over the process to others. When those third parties make clear mistakes causing harm, the law provides victims with a way to seek accountability and redress.
However, the seriousness of the harm can be just as bad in all forms of birth injuries. As mentioned, the rise in infant medication addiction falls into the categories of preventable in utero problem. All with all preventable problems in this area, it is vital that more information be shared and awareness raised so that young lives can ultimately be spared.
According to the latest article on the topic, the rise in painkiller addiction is a reminder of the power of many of these drugs, like OxyContin and Vicodin, and the ways that they can be abused. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that prescription drug addiction is the fastest growing dependency problem in the country. When it comes to infected infants, it is clear that the total number of dependant babies has tripled and quadrupled in recent years in certain areas. For example in the Tampa Bay area, experts explain that roughly one in twenty children are born with a prescription drug addiction.
The effect of the addiction on the infants cannot be underestimated. When they are born they soon begin to experience withdrawal symptoms just as an adult would. They often writhe in pain, and are unable to ever get comfortable enough to eat or sleep. In most cases medical professionals are essentially forced to re-addict them and then slowly wean them off of the new narcotic. However, for those infants with a long exposure, there may be long-term consequences. Many of these children ultimately experience learning and developmental difficulties; a majority have attention deficit problems. Some of these children are able to catch up with their peers and live problem-free. However, it goes without saying that these completely preventable problems should never occur, and all those involved in the pregnancy process should do everything in their power to prevent infants from developing these addictions.
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