Children born with cleft lips or cleft palates often face many challenges while growing up. Development is changed drastically, and learning to eat and speak becomes harder than ever. While surgeries are indeed available to correct craniofacial birth defects, these surgeries can be overwhelmingly expensive for some families, leaving parents and child forced to cope with these oral malformations.
Luckily, however, foundations exist to help children and parents move forward with treatment and therapy after a child is born with a cleft lip and/or palate. These foundations provide support and education, and some even provide treatment at discounted rates so that families without insurance can afford the costly procedures.
The Cleft Palate Foundation
The mission of The Cleft Palate Foundation is to:
“enhance the quality of life for individuals affected by cleft lip and palate and other craniofacial birth defects.”
The foundation operates the CLEFTLINE, a toll free 800 number that provides information to callers about facial clefts and other oral malformations. Callers will also be provided with information regarding cleft palate support groups in their regions.
In addition to CLEFTLINE (1-800-24-CLEFT), the foundation provides free publications to website visitors regarding craniofacial research, meetings and events, available scholarships, and teams of specialists available in their area to provide treatment.
SmileTrain is a charity that provides oral cleft repair surgery for only $250 to poor families. They do this through funding from benefactors, and through donations from civilians like you and I. In addition to providing parents with the opportunity to afford the procedure, SmileTrain also trains doctors in over 75 countries to perform craniofacial surgeries on children.
SmileTrain makes it possible for children to live normal lives who otherwise would be forced to face a life of handicaps and physical deformities. The charity is a wonderful cause, and we urge anyone with the extra funds to make a donation.
Birth Defects Lawyers in New Jersey and Philadelphia
Craniofacial birth defects, like oral clefts, can have internal and external causes. It has recently been determined that one of those external causes is the use of the anti-convulsant drug Topamax, used to treat epilepsy and chronic migraines. When used during pregnancy, or extensively by women of childbearing age, the risk of a fetus developing an oral cleft becomes much greater. Doctors have been alerted that prescribing this drug to pregnant women could end up doing more harm than good, and that only when no other viable treatment options exist should it be prescribed to pregnant women.
If your child was born with a craniofacial birth defect and you believe that it could be attributed to your use of Topamax, you probably have a lot of questions regarding your legal rights. Contact the Mininno Law Office for a free case evaluation, or call for a free consultation at (856) 833-0600 in New Jersey, or (215) 567-2380 in Philadelphia.
If your child suffers from a cleft lip or cleft palate, there is help. Don’t wait to ask for it.