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Allegations of Multiple Birth Defects in Zoloft PPHN Lawsuit

A new Zoloft PPHN lawsuit has joined coordinated proceedings in Pennsylvania. The plaintiffs in the case allege use of antidepressant Zoloft during pregnancy led to a number of birth defects in their newborn, including heart defect PPHN, and hearing loss.

Zoloft lawsuits piling up in federal coordination

The lawsuit was filed by the plaintiffs’ Zoloft birth defects lawyer on July 8, 2013. The complaint was filed in United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, the location for multidistrict litigation involving SSRI birth defects. The MDL was established on April 17, 2012, for the purpose of coordinating cases with similar complaints during the pre-trial process. In addition to cases currently pending in this court, nearly 100 more in federal courts across the country could be transferred to the MDL in the future.

The mother plaintiff in this complaint claims she took Zoloft during her pregnancy, which spanned months between 2001 and 2002. At the time, the plaintiff assumed the drug was safe during pregnancy, since the product label at the time failed to alert her or her physician to the potential risks associated with SSRI antidepressants like Zoloft. However, the manufacturer of Zoloft, Pfizer, should have known the drug increased the risks of some types of birth defects, since early animal studies indicated this possibility as early as 1991.

Birth defects result in ongoing medical treatment, monitoring

The plaintiff gave birth to her child on April 20, 2002, according to the Zoloft PPHN lawsuit. Shortly after the child was born, he was diagnosed with persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn, or PPHN. He was also found to have a congenital heart defect known as patent ductus arteriosis, and sensorineural hearing loss. In addition, the child has experienced numerous developmental delays that have required ongoing medical monitoring and treatment.

PPHN occurs when the circulatory system of the child does not properly adapt to life outside the uterus. Under normal conditions, a newborn’s blood pressure falls shortly after birth to allow for increased blood flow to the lungs. In infants with PPHN, the blood pressure remains high, directing blood away from the lungs. PPHN can result in oxygen deprivation to vital organs of the body – a dangerous and even life-threatening situation.

Patent ductus arteriosis is a congenital defect that occurs when the valve between two of the major vessels leading to the heart does not close properly. This condition allows oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor blood to mix, which can strain the heart, lungs and other vital organs. Surgery is often the recommended treatment, which is typically done on a relatively young infant to prevent further complications.

Sensorineural hearing loss is a result of damage to the inner ear and is not typically reversible. Treatments that can help the condition include hearing aids or other assistive devices. In some cases, cochlear implants might also be recommended. None of these treatments can restore hearing that was lost, but they can amplify sounds to make them easier to hear.

Parent plaintiffs seek damages from Pfizer

The child in this Zoloft lawsuit complaint required surgical intervention for his patent ductus arteriosis and invasive treatment and therapy for his other birth defects. The child will require additional surgical procedures, invasive testing and medical monitoring for an unspecified period of time. According to the complaint, the child has suffered “physically, mentally and emotionally” from his birth defects, and will continue to require hospitalizations, surgeries and examinations to treat and monitor his conditions in the future.

The parent plaintiffs in this Zoloft PPHN lawsuit have included a number of counts against Pfizer, including failure to warn, breach of warranty, manufacturing defect, and fraud. The plaintiffs are now seeking punitive damages from Pfizer in excess of $75,000 to compensate them for their child’s pain and suffering, ongoing medical bills and lost wages.