Denver Labor Medication Injury Lawyers
Childbirth does not always progress in a way that is safe for the mother and baby. Labor may not start when it should or advance in a timely manner. Regardless, doctors in a hospital setting almost always resort to using drugs to induce or progress delivery.
Two medications that are frequently used to induce and progress labor in the United States are Pitocin and Cytotec. Both of these drugs can be quite dangerous and result in injuries to the baby or the mother. When that happens, it is a form of medical malpractice.
If you believe your child’s injury stems from the misuse of labor-inducing drugs, please contact Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. Our team has a background in medicine, and we have handled lawsuits for hundreds of these cases throughout the United States. Call (877) 433-3906 to set up a no-cost consultation with an experienced Denver birth injury lawyer.
If labor-inducing drugs can be dangerous, why do doctors frequently use them? To speed up delivery. Whether this is done to "turn rooms" at the hospital or because the doctor has somewhere else to be later, here are the legitimate reasons for using labor-inducing drugs:
- The pregnant woman is overdue.
- Labor has started, but is not progressing in a reasonable amount of time.
- Labor has started, but there are no contractions.
- The pregnant woman has a condition that makes continued pregnancy dangerous, such as preeclampsia, hypertension, or diabetes.
The use of the drugs may be reasonable, but if they are improperly administered, they can lead to major birth complications and life-threatening injuries.
Some common complications are:
- Fetal distress: When the fetus has a non-reassuring fetal heart rate, which can indicate a lack of oxygen. A lack of oxygen due to fetal distress can cause cerebral palsy (damage to the motor centers of the brain, leading to a movement disorder) and hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (widespread brain damage often causing intellectual and developmental disability).
- Hyperstimulation of the uterus (tachysystole): When contractions are too strong or come too quickly. This increases the risk of uterine rupture, and can also cause fetal distress, as the fetus cannot "rest" between contractions.
- Amniotic fluid embolism: In this rare condition, the amniotic fluid enters a mother’s bloodstream, leading to complications such as blood clots.
- Uterine rupture: If Pitocin causes contractions that are too strong, they can rupture the uterus, especially if the mother has a previous C-section or uterine scarring from surgery.
- Postpartum hemorrhage: Cytotec or Pitocin cause the birth to progress too quickly, which leaves the mother open for excessive bleeding.
Cytotec is a drug (generic name misoprostol) originally used to treat stomach ulcers. However, it is often used "off-label" in order to induce labor. Cytotec ripens the cervix and can help produce contractions, which is why it is used by doctors to induce labor, but the FDA has not approved Cytotec for this purpose.
Cytotec has been known to cause uterine rapture and placental abruption (when the placenta separates prematurely from the uterine wall), as well as hemorrhaging in the mother. These complications sometimes force the doctor to perform a hysterectomy on the mother to save her life, which can cause untold emotional distress to the family. The drug can also have adverse effects on the baby when it causes fetal distress, such as brain hemorrhaging that can result in cerebral palsy and other disabilities.
Pitocin is a labor-inducing drug (a synthetic version of oxytocin) that is administered intravenously and is meant to mimic natural contractions in a pregnant woman and speed up labor. Pitocin becomes a danger when it causes contractions that are too strong or last too long, because it can deprive the baby of oxygen and cause all the injuries associated with a lack of oxygen. Pitocin is a somewhat unpredictable drug that affects different women differently, even when used in a "safe" dosage. Pitocin carries a risk of uterine rupture, especially if the mother is having a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean).
If you or your child was injured due to Cytotec or Pitocin, or if you suspect that the drugs that were given during labor somehow caused harm, please give our birth injury attorneys at Leventhal Puga Braley P.C., a call at (877) 433-3906.
Doctors rarely admit to anything going wrong on their watch, and mothers do not have access to all the background information changing hands in the delivery room. There is a semi-recent phenomenon known as "pit to distress" wherein the doctor instructs the nurses to increase the mother’s Pitocin drip until her unborn baby goes into fetal distress, at which time the doctor will swoop in with an "emergency" C-section…and go home early. This disgusting practice rarely leaves a mother or child untouched afterward, and we intend to oppose it with all the resources and expertise we have at our disposal. As our trial attorneys are members of the Birth Trauma Litigation Group of the American Association of Justice and have spearheaded record-breaking verdicts across the country, we have confidence we can succeed.
After bringing a child home with a birth injury, it’s important that you learn all your legal options. Our team has decades of experience handling cases related to labor and delivery medication errors, and we will guide you. Call our Denver office at (877) 433-3906 for a no-charge initial consultation.
- "Pit To Distress" - Medical Malpractice In Its Purest Form
- Induction of Labor - Merck Manual
- What Is Induction of Labor? - NICHD
- Misoprostol (marketed as Cytotec) Information - FDA