Risk of Pitocin Induced Birth Injury

Jacky Gale | May 7th, 2013 | Posted in Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit News

Pitocin Induced Birth InjuryPitocin (oxytocin) is a commonly used drug for women in labor. It is a synthetic hormone that causes the contraction of the uterus. Its intent is to stimulate contractions in women who are at risk of miscarriage, those who have weak contractions during childbirth, and those who have a prolonged labor. It may also be used for excessive bleeding in the delivery room. Doctors also prescribe Pitocin to induce labor when a woman is post-term, or past the delivery date. However, many have noted a pattern of Pitocin induced birth injury, and some studies question whether its usefulness outweighs the potential for serious risks to the baby and the mother.

Healthcare professionals question use of Pitocin

Some healthcare professionals have noted concerns about the increasing use of Pitocin, particularly in cases in which it may not be needed. In fact, according to one study published in the Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica journal, the use of Pitocin to induce labor without a compelling medical reason is associated with an increased risk of an unplanned Cesarean section, in addition to other complications of the labor. The researchers found that children born with the use of Pitocin were also more likely to be placed in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Other healthcare providers have noted that a Pitocin induced birth injury is more likely to occur due to the action of the drug, which involves an increase in heart rate and blood pressure in the baby and the mother.

Possibility for birth injuries

Pitocin is a liquid medication that is diluted with saline and administered intravenously, with regulation via a pump. After monitoring the expectant mother’s response to the drug, doctors may adjust the medication as needed until the desired pattern of contractions is achieved. However, the risk of complications and birth injuries can be elevated if the medical personnel fail to closely monitor the mother and baby and adjust the drug correctly.

In addition, the contraction pattern achieved by Pitocin cannot mimic that of a natural birth because the drug is delivered continuously. In a natural birth the body naturally releases oxytocin in a cyclical fashion. Instead, Pitocin-induced contractions are unregulated by the body and have the capability of causing significant pain to the patient. Furthermore, the unborn baby is at risk of receiving inadequate amounts of oxygen due to the frequency of these contractions. When a baby is deprived of oxygen, birth injuries can often result.

Side effects and complications in children that have been associated with the use and/or misuse of Pitocin include:

Some of the side effects and complications that may occur in the expectant mother from the use and/or misuse of Pitocin are:

  • Uterine rupture
  • Emergency epidural
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Significant pain
  • Low beta-endorphin levels

Pitocin medical malpractice lawsuits

If you or your child were exposed to Pitocin and suffered serious complications, legal recourse may be available. The doctors and the hospital may be held accountable for improper administration of the drug or failing to adequately warn of possible risks of a Pitocin induced birth injury. Consult a medical malpractice lawyer to discuss potential compensation for hospital expenses and ongoing care. If your child did not survive, you may also have the option to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

The legal team of Balkin & Eisbrouch will fight for your rights and the rights of your child. If you or a family member was injured during labor and Pitocin was used, you could be eligible for compensatory damages. Call us today for a free consultation to discuss your eligibility for filing a lawsuit.

Drugs.com, Pitocin Overview http://www.drugs.com/mtm/pitocin.html