Newborn Opioid Withdrawal Lawsuits
Prescription opioids are often used to treat moderate to severe pain after an injury or surgery and are generally safe when used for a short period of time as prescribed by a health care provider. However, when an expectant mother becomes dependent on prescription painkillers, it can cause miscarriages or put the unborn child at risk of developing a serious health condition.
The number of babies born in the U.S. addicted to opioids tripled between 1999 and 2013, according to a 2016 government report. Using opioids during pregnancy can not only cause preterm or premature births, birth defects and low birthweights, it can also cause a life-threatening opioid withdrawal syndrome in newborns known as neonatal abstinence syndrome. This syndrome can cause significant problems for a baby, including developmental delays, behavioral problems, having an undeveloped liver and breathing problems. If your baby was born with neonatal abstinence syndrome after you were prescribed opioids during pregnancy, you may be entitled to file a neonatal abstinence syndrome lawsuit. Many lawsuits have already been filed by victims alleging opioid manufacturers knowingly downplayed the dangers of dependency on opioid painkillers, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone and tramadol, among others.
Contact our dedicated defective drug lawyers to schedule a free, no obligation legal consultation. We can review your case and determine if you have grounds to file a lawsuit over your baby's injuries. Our lawyers work on contingency which means there are no upfront legal fees or costs involved. We do not get paid unless we help you receive adequate compensation.
What is Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS)?
Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) is a group of conditions a baby experiences when withdrawing from exposure to opioids. Pregnant mothers taking drugs such as oxycodone (OxyContin), methadone, codeine, and fentanyl pass these substances through the placenta to the fetus, resulting in the baby becoming dependent on the drug.
At birth, the baby’s dependency on the substance continues, but since the drug is no longer available, the baby’s central nervous system becomes overstimulated, causing the symptoms of withdrawal which may require additional hospitalization and treatment.
Common Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms of NAS vary depending on each baby and the type of drug the mother used during pregnancy. Symptoms of withdrawal can begin as early as 24 to 48 hours after birth, or as late as five to 10 days after delivery.
Some of the most common symptoms of NAS include the following:
- Tremors (trembling)
- Sleep problems
- Irritability (excessive crying)
- Breathing issues
- Difficulty eating
- High-pitched crying
- Hyperactive reflexes
- Fever or unstable temperature
- Stuffy nose or sneezing
- Excessive yawning
- Sweating or blotchy skin
- Tight muscle tone
The baby could also be born with a low birthweight, meaning the baby is born weighing less than five pounds, eight ounces. Jaundice can also develop when a baby’s liver is not fully developed or working properly, causing the baby’s skin and eyes to appear yellow in color.
In other severe cases, opioid-addicted babies may also require additional treatment with medicine or a stay in a newborn intensive care unit or NICU, to obtain the appropriate round-the-clock medical care.
If your baby experiences any of the medical problems listed above, seek medical attention right away. The specific treatment for NAS will be determined by the health care provider based on whether your baby was born full-term or premature. This includes examining your baby’s overall health and medical history, extent of the disease and tolerance level for certain medications, procedures or therapies.
While the long-term effects of NAS are still being researched, it is known to be a completely preventable problem. If you gave birth to an opioid-addicted baby, it is in your best interest to obtain legal representation as soon as possible.
A licensed defective drug lawyer at our firm can discuss your options during a free case evaluation. You may be entitled to obtain compensation from the drug manufacturer for negligently prescribing these painkillers by filing a neonatal abstinence syndrome lawsuit. This could help cover medical expenses and other damages, as well as damages you and your baby suffer in the future, which could easily get into hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Call 1 (855) 722-2552 today for a free consultation.
Class Action Lawsuits Already Filed
More than 1,000 lawsuits have been filed across the nation by people claiming the manufacturers of prescription opioids grossly misrepresented the risks involved in long-term use. The lawsuits also claim distributors of these drugs did not monitor suspiciously large orders of these drugs, contributing the opioid epidemic in the country. These lawsuits were filed in various states, including California, Kentucky, Illinois, Ohio, Washington and West Virginia. In 2017, these lawsuits were consolidated into a multidistrict litigation (MDL) and will be overseen by one federal judge in the Northern District of Ohio. As of November 2018, there are 1,513 pending cases in this MDL.
Neonatal abstinence syndrome lawsuits have also been filed on behalf of babies who have health problems because they were exposed to opioids before birth.
A class action was filed in Louisiana in February 2018 on behalf of children who were born addicted to opioid medications. The purpose of the lawsuit is to obtain compensation for damages suffered by families and to cover the cost of lifelong medical monitoring. The defendants in the class action include drug stores, distributors and manufacturers of opioids.
In Philadelphia, a proposed class action was filed in August 2018 against several manufacturers. Like other opioid cases, the lawsuit alleges that pharmaceutical companies sparked the opioid crisis because of aggressive marketing and downplaying of the risks of addiction.
If you were taking opioids during pregnancy and your baby was born addicted, you may have legal options. Contact us for a free legal consultation to discuss potentially filing a neonatal abstinence syndrome lawsuit.
Contact Our Attorneys About an Opioid Withdrawal Lawsuit
At Gordon & Partners, we understand how side effects from drugs, like opioids, can put great financial and emotional stresses on families and their loved ones. If your child was born with neonatal abstinence syndrome, you may be able to take legal action against negligent opioid manufacturers.
Learn more about your rights by contacting a skilled class action attorney at our firm. We can review your situation during a free, no obligation consultation. We have years of experience helped injured victims obtain maximum compensation for injuries caused by the negligence of others.
We also take all cases on a contingency fee basis. There are no upfront costs to worry about unless we help you recover compensation for your losses.