Fetal Alcohol Syndrome - Medical Malpractice Lawyers

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Fetal Alcohol Syndrome - Medical Malpractice

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) are a group of conditions that can occur in a person whose mother drank alcohol during pregnancy. These effects can include physical problems and problems with behavior and learning. Often, a person with an FASD has a mix of these problems.

fetal Alcohol Syndrome or FAS is caused by a woman who drinks alcohol during pregnancy. It can happen with any amount of drinking during the pregnancy. There is no safe time to drink during pregnancy and there is no alcoholic type of drink that is safe to drink in pregnancy. The only way to stop FAS is to avoid drinking alcoholic beverages during pregnancy or during the time she might get pregnancy. Remember that half of all pregnancies are unplanned and you can't know whether or not your drinking may impact a pregnancy.

The signs and symptoms of fetal alcohol syndrome are many. The child can have abnormal facial features, including a smooth philtrum, which is the ridge between the lip and nose. The head size is quite small and the child is shorter than average. The child has a low body weight and is poorly coordinated. There can be hyperactive behavioural problems and problems with attention to school subjects. Memory and math understanding is impaired and there can be other learning disabilities. Delays in speech and language are common and there is a low IQ syndrome. There are poor reasoning skills and poor judgement along with sucking difficulties in infancy. Hearing and vision problems also seem to be more common in FAS babies and the bones, heart and kidneys can be affected during the growth period.

Types of fetal alcohol syndrome include regular fetal alcohol syndrome or FAS. This is the severest end of the spectrum of alcohol diseases in infancy. There are all the main symptoms of facial feature changes, short stature and central nervous system problems. Such patients have a difficult time in school and have trouble with getting along with their peers.

There is also alcohol related neurodevelopment disorder or ARND in which there are some intellectual difficulties and problems with learning and behaviour. Difficulties in math, memory, impulse control, attention and judgment are prominent. Alcohol related birth defects or ARBD involves those children that have heart problems, kidney problems, bone defects or hearing problems as a result of alcohol consumption in the womb.

The diagnosis of FAS has been worked out by the CDC. The guidelines for FAS were the only guidelines they looked at but the other diagnostic criteria are being worked out on an ongoing basis. There is no direct medical test for FAS but the doctor can look at the history and physical features of the child in order to make a diagnosis. Other diseases with similar symptoms need to be ruled out, such as ADHD and William's syndrome.

Doctors look for the absence of the philtrum, short stature, the CNS problems, ADHD like symptoms and known prenatal alcohol exposure.

The treatment of fetal alcohol syndrome includes early intervention in order to support the child and his or her growth and development. Medication can help control behavioural issues; parent training can help parents understand how to deal with an FAS child; alternative approaches can be used as well. Close monitoring and follow up are required to manage these kids and their issues. There is no cure for fetal alcohol syndrome and it is a lifelong issue.

Some things that can protect a child with FAS include diagnosing the child before aged 6, being in a loving or nurturing environment, avoiding violence in the home or around the home and involvement in social services and special education as soon as the diagnosis is made.

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The author of the substantive medical writing on this website is Dr. Christine Traxler MD whose biography can be read here