"When I was 20 weeks pregnant my doctor said it was safe to stay on Paxil," says Tinsley. "But after the first ultrasound, we found out that my baby had a heart defect and he told me to immediately get off Paxil." And that was the beginning of Tinsley's nightmare.
"I started taking Paxil in August 2001 and found out I was pregnant that November 2001. When we got the phone call that our baby had a heart defect the doctor scheduled a 'level 2' ultrasound. Even when my OB doctor told me to quit taking Paxil right away, it still didn't occur to me that Paxil was the cause of any problems - I was so traumatized with this news. I'd already had five perfectly normal, full-time pregnancies and have five perfectly healthy kids.
And I just assumed that the doctor didn't want me taking any medication because of this second ultrasound. At 21 weeks, before I had the ultrasound my placenta ruptured; I was able to hold off the labor for another 3 weeks and Joshua was born at 24 weeks - he weighed 1 lb 12 oz.
When Joshua was two days old, they told us that he would need heart surgery because his PDA valve wouldn't close. And when he was eight days old, he had open heart surgery. He had chronic lung disease and bronchial pulmonary dysplasia (BPD) that caused chronic asthma. He will be five years old next month and he has been hospitalized 42 times, mainly for lung problems.
He didn't come home from NICU until he was four months old. And he had a brain bleed. They did ultrasounds every Wednesday on his head for about two months to make sure the brain bleeds weren't getting worse and to determine whether or not he would need surgery.
But the worst hurdle is his lungs. Joshua's lungs are so weak and his immune system is very low; if he gets a normal cold his lungs give out and he has to be hospitalized anywhere from four days to a week at a time. He has to be on oxygen and on breathing treatments four times a day. He is given steroids frequently to open his airways but in so doing, this compromises his immune system.
READ MORE LEGAL NEWS
About two weeks ago, when Joshua was in hospital again, I saw a TV ad that said Paxil caused birth defects. So I came home and looked on the Internet and saw your site. I had always blamed myself, wondering what I had done or didn't do. Then I realized that, after five years blaming myself, it wasn't my fault. Now I am angry at my doctors but mainly the drug makers.
How can [SmithKline Beecham] put Paxil on the market then make people suffer for the rest of their lives and get away with it, so they can make more money? I just don't get it. To me there is no amount of money that can help; no amount can let me forget when my little boy had heart surgery.