If you were stationed, lived, or worked at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina for 30 cumulative days or more between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987, you were exposed to high levels of toxic chemicals and known carcinogens. This exposure has had a profound impact on the military community, causing high rates of cancer and other serious illnesses among veterans and their families.
With the recent passage of the Honoring our PACT Act and the Camp Lejeune Justice Act, it is understandable that some families who were at Camp Lejeune during the period of toxic exposure may be left wondering: Did the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune cause my child’s birth defect?
If your child was born with a birth defect that you believe was the result of you or your spouse’s ingestion of contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, the time to take action is now. You only have until Aug. 10, 2024, to meet with a lawyer, determine the cause of your child’s birth defect, build a case, and file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit.
Pittman Roberts and Welsh, PLLC is currently meeting with former Marines, other veterans, contract workers, and family members who were previously at Camp Lejeune and are now suffering from serious health problems.
What Is a Birth Defect?
A birth defect is a medical condition or health problem that occurs while a child is still developing in-utero. These are different from birth injuries, which are often the result of medical negligence or incompetence during the labor and delivery process.
Only around 20% of birth defects are the result of hereditary or genetic factors, such as chromosomal abnormalities. The remaining 80% can be linked to a wide range of factors and influences, including maternal:
- Exposure to toxic or contaminated water
- Prescription medication or recreational drug use
- Infection during pregnancy
- Malnutrition or lack of vital nutrients
Women who were at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 and were pregnant at the time were exposed to toxic chemicals via the base’s contaminated water. This exposure resulted in a higher rate of birth defects than that of the general population.
Birth Defects Caused by Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune
The Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) has identified a number of birth defects linked to maternal ingestion of Camp Lejeune’s contaminated water. In a study focused exclusively on mothers who resided on base during their pregnancies and whose children were born between 1968 and 1985, ASTDR identified:
- 35 cases of neural tube defects (NTDs)
- 42 cases of oral clefts, including cleft lips and cleft palates
- 29 cases of childhood hematopoietic cancers
The two most common types of neural tube defects are spina bifida and anencephaly, both of which were identified in ATSDR’s study. These types of birth defects typically occur very early in pregnancy, sometimes even before a woman realizes that she is pregnant.
Although childhood cancer is not a birth defect, evidence suggests that it often has its roots in-utero. A pregnant mother’s exposure to contaminated water like that found at Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987 puts a child at a significantly heightened risk of developing childhood cancer, including leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and multiple myeloma.
Methods of Exposure To Contaminated Water That Cause Birth Defects
Anyone who was at Camp Lejeune between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 31, 1987, was exposed to toxic and carcinogenic substances through the base’s contaminated water. Those who were present for a period of 30 or more days were exposed to levels sufficient to cause serious health conditions. For pregnant women, this level of exposure has been linked to multiple birth defects and childhood cancers.
The methods of exposure to contaminated water that has been linked to these birth defects include:
- Ingestion via drinking water
- Washing produce like fruits and vegetables
- Washing hands
- Showering and bathing
There was no safe use of water on Camp Lejeune between 1953 and 1987. If you were pregnant and present at the base during the above dates, your child’s birth defect may be linked to the contaminated water.
The Cost of Living With a Birth Defect
The physical, emotional, and financial costs of living with a birth defect are profound. Hospitalizations related to birth defects total approximately $23 billion a year. This is on top of other health care costs for birth defects, including:
- Physical therapy
- Rehabilitative services
- Specialist appointments
- Specialized or adaptive equipment
Costs associated with birth defects are not restricted to infancy or childhood. Hospitalization costs for medical problems associated with birth defects among people aged 65 and over amount to an average of $13,000 a year.
While as a parent, you do everything within your power to address these costs, taking on the burden of medical bills when your child’s birth defect was the result of another person’s or entity’s negligence is too much to ask.
When the attorneys of Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC take on a complex case, we look at more than just current needs. If your child was born with a birth defect because of exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, you need a lawyer on your side who will consider past, current, and future medical costs when valuing the worth of your claim. Otherwise, you risk losing out on compensation that is essential to your child’s overall health and well-being.
Filing a Camp Lejeune Water Contamination Lawsuit From Mississippi
Although there are no Marine Corps bases in Mississippi, our state is home to several other military installations:
- Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center
- Naval Air Station Meridian
- Keesler Air Force Base
- Naval Construction Battalion Center Gulfport
- Columbus Air Force Base
Although Camp Lejeune is located in North Carolina, veterans and their families who call Mississippi home may file a Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuit without leaving the state. However, any claims that are not settled prior to Aug. 10, 2024, will be consolidated in a process similar to personal injury mass tort in North Carolina’s Eastern District. It is paramount that you partner with a law firm that is prepared to take on the complexities of multi-district litigation.
Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC Is a Powerful Advocate for Veterans and Their Families
If you believe that your child’s birth defect was caused by the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune, contact the attorneys at Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC today. We have a combined 125 years of experience representing injury victims in complex legal cases. From the initial investigation all the way through trial, we are dedicated to advocating for the rights of those who have been unjustly harmed by others.
Contact us today by filling out our convenient online form or calling our Jackson, MS office.