CLEFT PALATE A cleft palate is made when the roof of the mouth does not completely develop and leaves a gap. Children with a cleft palate may have difficulties in feeding, hearing and speech development. It is generally agreed among physicians that medical procedures to repair cleft palate issues can begin as early as six months, but depending on the individual, may be delayed as long as 18 months. Exactly when the procedures begin is dependent on your child's health conditions and professional opinions of attending physicians and surgeons. Cleft palate repair will likely entail multiple surgeries from infancy through later childhood. In some cases, these procedures may extend into teen years. Complete treatment of cleft palate issues may include plastic surgery; ear, nose, and throat procedures, dentistry, and orthodontics. During this treatment process, bone grafts may become necessary. Further therapy from nutritionists and speech pathologists may also be necessary to achieve the maximum amount of normality possible for your child.
CLEFT LIP A cleft lip is made when the tissues of the upper lip do not completely join, leaving a gap. Cleft lip surgery is normally necessary to achieve a normal appearance and functionality of the upper lip. Doctors first apply the “rule of tens,” (at least 10 pounds, at least 10 weeks old, and a hemoglobin count of 10 grams) in deciding when to begin surgical repair procedures. The exact time to begin these procedures is a decision made by attending physicians and surgeons depending on your child’s health conditions. The goal of cleft lip repair is to restore normal appearance and functionality in eating. Cleft lip repair and recovery, like a cleft palate, may require a team approach to achieve normal nursing, eating and later speaking abilities. While cleft lip repair may be achieved with one surgery, the possibility exists that further procedures may be necessary all the way into adolescence.
HEART DEFECTS Heart birth defects brought on by Zofran are commonly called “holes in the heart.” One such defect, and the most common, is properly named “ventricular septal defect.” Ventricles are the right and left lower chambers of the heart. As the heart develops, a wall grows between the two ventricles to separate them. If the wall does not completely form, the infant will be born with a ventricular septal defect. The second defect is called is called an atrial septal defect. Atriums are the right and left upper chambers of the heart. The right and left atriums develop similarly to the ventricles as a wall develops between the two chambers. Normally, the wall growth is completed around the time of birth. If the wall fails to close before birth, the defect occurs and allows increased blood to flow from the left to right atrium. This condition is called a shunt which may cause increased pressure in the lungs. The shunt may require surgery to correct the blood flow. This information is provided only to familiarize you with the developmental defects your child may be suffering. If you suspect that any of these conditions exist, the first thing to do is to immediately contact a doctor and seek professional medical advice and treatment for your child.
WHAT TO DO The first priority is to ensure that your child has the best possible medical evaluation and care. If, during that process, it is determined that Zofran may be the underlying cause of any of these defects, you may qualify for compensation for the substantial costs, emotional issues and other legitimate expenses you will encounter as you seek treatment and follow-up therapy.