In 2013, a total of 55,868 babies were born in Kentucky. The CDC reports that every year around 3,000 babies are born with birth defects in the state, which means that one out of every 18 Kentucky babies will be born with a congenital anomaly.
The rate is high by any standard, even compared to the US as a whole, a nation in which one out of every 33 babies are born with a birth defect.
Birth Defects: A Statistical Look At Kentucky
Kentucky’s Birth Surveillance Registry is tasked with tracking the overall incidence of birth defects within state, as well as identifying trends in high-risk births and referring families to additional services. It’s one of only 13 states to have such a program.
Unfortunately, the KBSR has not released a report since 2002, but the information contained in the study speaks to a hopeful downward trend in the rate and severity of birth defects in Kentucky.
How Common Are Birth Defects In Kentucky?
In 1996, an average of 12.7 out of every 10,000 babies in Kentucky were born with a neural tube defects. This category of congenital anomaly involves defects of the brain and spinal cord, including Spina bifida and anencephaly. By 2002, the frequency of these defects had dropped more than 50%, to 5.7 out of 10,000 babies.
Lake Cumberland, Kentucky River and Big Sandy Counties had the highest incidence of neural tube defects out of Kentucky’s 15 counties.
Cleft Lip & Palate
Orofacial clefts, a category that includes cleft lip and cleft palate, have decreased as well, although not quite so substantially. In 1998, an average of 18.7 out of every 10,000 babies were born with an orofacial cleft. In 2002, only 15.1 out of 10,000 were.
Kentucky River, Cumberland Valley and Lincoln Trail Counties had the highest frequency of babies born with orofacial clefts from 1998 to 2002.
Rates of babies born with Down syndrome, however, are on the rise. The risk of conceiving a child with Down syndrome increases substantially with maternal age. At 35, the chance of a mother delivering a child with Down syndrome is around 1 in 350. At 40, the chance is 1 in 100, and by 45, it’s 1 in 30.
In 1998, for mothers over the age of 35, about 33.5 out of 10,000 gave birth to a child with Down syndrome in Kentucky. By 2002, 55.8 out of 10,000 did.
Help For Families In Kentucky
The KBSR works closely with Kentucky’s Folic Acid Partnership to promote community awareness of the benefits of prenatal folic acid supplements. The CDC credits this partnership with a 27% decline in the rate of neural tube defects between 2000 and 2007 in Kentucky.
But KBSR’s most vital task may be referring qualifying families to First Steps, the state’s early intervention program. Children born with congenital defects and developmental disabilities are connected to specialized service providers, regardless of family income, making sure that every child receives the support they need to grow up healthy.
You can learn more about applying for First Steps, which even provides home visits, by calling 877-417-8377.
Zofran Birth Defect Lawsuits In Kentucky
Through the sponsorship of a national alliance of plaintiffs’ lawyers, this website was created to inform families of an ongoing litigation that involves the drug Zofran, which is FDA approved to treat severe nausea and vomiting only in patients undergoing chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgical anesthesia.
While Zofran’s manufacturer has never sought the drug’s approval as a treatment for the nausea and vomiting commonly experienced during the first trimester of pregnancy, doctors in the US and Canada have begun to prescribe Zofran “off-label” as a treatment for morning sickness.
The company that produces Zofran has never tested the drug’s effects on pregnant women or their unborn babies in clinical trials.
In recent years, several independent research studies have found an increased incidence of birth defects among babies born to women who were prescribed Zofran or its active ingredient, ondansetron. 2012 saw the US Department of Justice file a number of civil and criminal charges against Zofran’s manufacturer, including allegations that the company had marketed Zofran to physicians as a “safe and effective” treatment for the nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. Under both US and Canadian law, pharmaceutical companies are prohibited from promoting their products for unapproved uses.
While Zofran’s producer continues to deny these allegations, at least seven US families have now brought legal claims against the company. They allege that the manufacturer has been aware of Zofran’s alleged potential to cause birth defects for more than a decade. Plaintiffs’ claim that the company marketed Zofran to physicians as a treatment for morning sickness, despite knowing of the drug’s alleged risks.
Can Kentucky Families File Zofran Lawsuits?
Joined by a coalition of distinguished lawyers, Monheit Law has begun to investigate the claims of families who believe that Zofran exposure may have caused their children’s birth defects.
If you were prescribed Zofran for morning sickness during early pregnancy, and then delivered a child with a birth defect, you may be eligible to bring a claim for compensation against the drug’s manufacturer.
While our attorneys are not admitted to practice in Kentucky, we are licensed to practice law in Delaware, where Zofran’s manufacturer is headquartered. As a result, we may be able to file a claim for compensation on your behalf in that state. We may also be able to recommend local counsel based in Kentucky to handle your lawsuit.
Families interested in learning more about this litigation are urged to contact our attorneys for a free consultation. Call 1-877-620-8411 or complete our online contact form to speak with an experienced lawyer today.