Childbirth can be a painful and grueling process, and when natural methods doesn't go as planned, doctors often step in. One of the most common labor and delivery interventions is the use of Pitocin. This is a synthetic version of the hormone oxytocin, which triggers strong and frequent uterine contractions.
Depending on the circumstances, doctors may use Pitocin to induce labor, speed up the birthing process, or shorten the time between contractions. There are a number of instances in which the use of Pitocin may be necessary, such as in cases involving maternal diabetes, maternal or fetal distress, or preeclampsia near or at term.
However, the use of Pitocin isn't without risks. For example, contractions induced by the drug are often stronger and more painful than those caused by naturally-produced oxytocin.
Additionally, health organizations such as the Institute for Safe Medical Practices identify Pitocin as a “high alert” drug, citing concerns related to dosing and the effects on the mother.
The improper use of Pitocin is linked to a number of birth injuries in both mothers and infants. Some of the most common Pitocin-related birth injuries to infants include:
- Low Apgar scores
- Fetal distress
- Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, also known as HIE or birth asphyxia
- Brain damage
- Bradycardia, or slow heart rate
- Tachycardia, or fast heart rate
- Neonatal jaundice
- Neonatal seizures
- Cerebral palsy
- Retinal hemorrhages
Pitocin can also serious complications for the mother, including:
- Cardiac arrhythmia
- Severe hypertension
- Postpartum hemorrhage
- Uterine ruptures
- Severe or fatal water intoxication
If a medical professional's negligence in using Pitocin led to a preventable birth injury, they may be liable for damages.
Did You or Your Child Suffer a Preventable Birth Injury?
If you or your child sustained a Pitocin-related birth injury due to a medical professional's negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the Accident and Injury Law Group today to schedule a free appointment to discuss your case with one of our knowledgeable birth injury attorneys.