Cloacal exstrophy is a very rare and complicated birth defect that is characterized by several malformed components. Babies with cloacal exstrophy often have an omphalocele, which is when some of the abdominal organs (such as the intestines, spleen or liver) protrude from the baby’s belly.
Additionally, the bladder is exposed in the front and connected on both sides of the large intestine. This allows for mixing of fecal matter and urine.
The anus is not formed (is closed), a condition called imperforate anus.
There may also be spinal cord defects, including varying degrees of spina bifida.
Lastly, the genital organs are affected; the penis is usually flat and short, with the exposed inner surface of the urethra on top. Or the penis may be split into a right and left half. Boys with cloacal exstrophy also suffer from cryptorchidism (failure of the testes to descend into the scrotum). In baby girls, the clitoris is split, and there may be one or two vaginal openings.
Cloacal Exstrophy Cause
Clomid: Maternal use of the fertility drug Clomid during pregnancy may increase a baby’s risk of developing cloacal exstrophy by as much as 5.4 times, according to the National Birth Defects Prevention Study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The reconstruction of the affected areas involves multiple procedures. In the first few days of the baby’s life, surgery will likely be performed to repair the omphalocele, return the protruding organs into the abdomen and close the opening. Surgeons will also close the bladder and create a colostomy, which is a way for the baby to eliminate stool (fecal matter). A colostomy involves dividing the large intestine into two sections and bringing the two ends through openings in the abdomen. The upper section allows stool to pass through an opening (a stoma) and into a collection bag. The lower section allows mucus produced by the intestine to pass into another collection bag. This creates the normal separation of urine and stool removal. Spinal defects must also be corrected in the first few months after birth.
Down the road, the healthcare professional can assess the amount of colon the child was born with and the muscle function of the baby’s bottom, in order to determine if it is possible to create a rectum and close the stoma. If possible, a procedure known as a “pull through” may be performed to open the abdomen to connect the colon to the rectum. Other necessary procedures will include major urinary tract reconstructive surgery and genital reconstruction.
Your Baby’s Rights
If your baby was born with cloacal exstrophy that may have been caused by exposure to prescription drugs before birth, your family deserves financial compensation. Although no amount of money will change what happened to your baby, compensation will help offset the current and future medical costs, as well as provide for the pain and suffering you and your baby have experienced. Filing a claim will also teach the manufacturers of unsafe medications that it is unacceptable to not warn parents of the risks associated with these drugs, especially devastating birth defects. Your suit may even prevent other families from suffering as yours has, by forcing the pharmaceutical company to change their drug’s label to warn parents of the potential risks.
You may be eligible for compensation to ease the financial burdens associated with your baby’s injury. Contact us today to set up a free consultation, during which we will listen to your story, answer any questions you may have and discuss your legal rights and options. If you choose us to represent you, we will work with you on a contingency fee basis; this means you pay nothing until we have secured compensation for you, either through a jury verdict or settlement.