Pitocin is a drug commonly used during childbirth to induce delivery. While it can be helpful for many women by starting or moving delivery along to avoid C-sections or stalled labor, it can also cause complications for the baby.
Too much Pitocin can cause hyperstimulation, which can result in birth injuries like cerebral palsy (CP) or shoulder dystocia in your child. If you suspect a birth injury to your child was due to medical oversight, contact Fieger Law for compassionate legal representation and help seeking compensation for your baby’s injuries.
What is Pitocin?
Pitocin, a synthetic version of the hormone oxytocin, is used to induce or strengthen labor contractions, facilitating vaginal birth. Obstetricians administer it to start labor when it doesn’t begin naturally or to boost contractions for more efficient and quicker delivery.
Though beneficial in assisting childbirth, it carries certain risks and requires careful management. If you or a loved one has experienced complications due to the overuse of Pitocin, contact a Michigan medical malpractice lawyer at Fieger Law to learn your rights.
Potential Birth Injuries from Pitocin
Hyperstimulation occurs when you are given too much Pitocin, causing the uterus to have harmful contractions, leading to the following potential complications:
Hyperstimulation may cause insufficient oxygen delivery to the baby’s brain, potentially leading to neurological harm and the risk of conditions such as cerebral palsy.
Cerebral palsy results from brain damage before, during, or shortly after birth and affects a child’s muscle tone and motor skills. This condition is characterized by stiffness and often spastic movements.
Fetal heart rate abnormalities
Excessive or intense contractions caused by Pitocin can cause changes in the baby’s heart rate as a result of insufficient oxygen and stress on the placenta.
Umbilical cord problems
Excessively intense contractions can result in umbilical cord complications, including prolapse, which is a rare but critical emergency associated with a high risk of infant mortality.
Strong contractions can lead to physical harm to the baby, including fractures, bruising, or nerve damage. This is particularly true in instances of shoulder dystocia, a situation where the baby’s shoulder gets stuck during delivery.
Pitocin administration requires careful monitoring and a measured approach. If your baby has experienced complications associated with Pitocin, consider consulting with our Michigan birth injury lawyers at Fieger Law. We are committed to safeguarding the rights of your child.
Your Doctor’s Responsibilities
When administering Pitocin, medical professionals are bound by a standard of care to ensure the safety and well-being of both the mother and the baby. Their responsibilities include:
Appropriate indication for use
Pitocin should not be administered if the mother has a predisposition for uterine rupture, such as previous major surgery on the cervix or uterus, like a cesarean section. If you’ve been prescribed Pitocin despite fitting into this risk category, it could potentially be medical malpractice.
Monitoring maternal and fetal response
All mothers treated with Pitocin require constant observation. This includes tracking uterine contractions and fetal heart rate. Failure to monitor and respond to signs of distress or hyperstimulation may be malpractice.
Correct dosage and administration
Each patient responds differently to Pitocin; medical providers typically implement the medication in small doses to begin. Your physician may then slowly increase the dose until the desired contraction pattern is established. Deviating from proper protocol, such as administering a higher initial dose, may breach the standard of care and qualify as malpractice.
Doctors are obligated to inform the patient about the risks associated with Pitocin and obtain consent for treatment. Administering Pitocin without informed consent may constitute a violation of patient rights.
If you suspect that your doctor deviated from these standards and caused your child’s birth injury, you may have grounds for a malpractice claim. Consult Fieger Law’s experienced team of personal injury lawyers for a free consultation to assess your case and learn your rights.
Protect against Malpractice with Fieger Law
Pitocin plays a crucial role in managing weak contractions and certain childbirth complications, but its use also requires significant caution and responsibility on the part of healthcare professionals due to the associated risks.
At Fieger Law, we are committed to helping families affected by medical malpractice across the U.S. In 2011, we achieved a landmark victory with a $144.5 million verdict, one of the largest settlements ever in a U.S. birth injury case.
If you believe that Pitocin contributed to a birth injury in your family, contact Fieger Law for a free consultation. We can review your case, hold those responsible accountable, and get your family the compensation you deserve.