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Rob Quattrocci
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Couple Files Paxil Birth Defects Lawsuit

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A South Carolina couple is suing the maker of the anti-depressant Paxil, who they believe caused their daughter’s birth defect. It is the first lawsuit of it’s kind filed within this state.

Taylor Dismuke looks like any other 6-year-old little girl but she is living with a heart malformation that will affect her for the rest of her life. Her mother, Kimberly Dismuke said, “She won’t be able to participate in sports. She won’t be able to dance, take gymnastics or participate in cheerleading.”

In 2000, Taylor, was born with a heart malformation that required open heart surgery the first week of her life, followed by another surgery before her first birthday.

Kimberly Dismuke and her husband Shannon Dismuke of South Carolina are suing the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline. Taylor’s parents allege they were never told that the anti-depressant Paxil can cause birth defects in pregnant women.

Five years later, in September 2005, GlaxoSmithKline released the results of a survey that concluded there is an increased risk of heart malformations for women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. The Dismuke’s attorney Andy Vickery firmly believes Taylor’s heart malformation is the result of Paxil.

Taylor will have more open heart surgeries as she grows. Because of the powerful drugs Taylor must take for her condition, she will not be able to give birth when she becomes a woman. Her mother stated, “No parent should ever have to feel this helpless, especially when the condition could have been prevented from the very beginning.”

Vickery said, “We hope that it is the first case in this country to go to trial in which GlaxoSmithKline will be held accountable for its corporate decisions that place moms at risk of birth defects.”

The case is expected to go to trial sometime next year. Only a jury will be able to decide if this case could have been prevented.

Earlier this month, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued a report advising Paxil should be avoided by pregnant women or women whom are planning to become pregnant.