Gastroschisis is a congenital (present at birth) defect that occurs when a baby’s intestines stick out of the body through a defect on one side of the umbilical cord. The defect is located where the umbilical cord meets the baby’s body and is almost always to the right of the cord. Babies with this condition have a hole in the abdominal wall, from which the intestines protrude. It is usually smaller than a similar condition called omphalocele, and the organs are not covered by a membrane. This condition is usually diagnosed with an ultrasound during the pregnancy. The exposed bowels may become damaged due to their position outside of the body and may not function well after delivery.


Painkillers: The use of opioid painkillers just before or during pregnancy has been shown to increase the likelihood of the baby developing gastroschisis by 80 percent, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Opioid painkillers include:

  • Hydrocodone
  • Codeine
  • Oxycodone


Due to the exposure of the intestines to amniotic fluid during the pregnancy, babies with gastroschisis have increased risk for complications in the third trimester, including bowel dilatation, decreased fetal growth and amniotic fluid volume, preterm delivery and, sometimes, fetal death. After birth, surgery must be performed to return the protruding bowel back into the baby’s abdomen and to close the abdominal hole. If the abdominal cavity is too small to hold the bowel, a synthetic mesh sack is stitched around the borders of the defect and, over time, the herniated intestine falls back into the abdominal cavity.

Your Baby’s Rights

If your baby was born with gastroschisis that may have been caused by exposure to opioid painkillers 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, including serious 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.

Contact Us

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.


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