Medication Errors During Labor and Delivery – Speak with a Cook County Birth Injury Lawyer Today.
During pregnancy, labor, and delivery, mothers can be prescribed a variety of effective drugs. When appropriate doses are taken at the right times, they are beneficial. However, if they are supplied or administered improperly, the consequences can be catastrophic. Most medication errors during birth are the result of possible negligence by members of the birth team or the hospital’s pharmacy. In either case, medication errors can constitute medical malpractice and may require the expertise of a Cook County birth injury lawyer.
Medications Commonly Used during Delivery
Some of the most common drugs administered during labor and delivery are described below, along with the birth injuries that may occur if used incorrectly.
Cytotec is also known by its generic name Misoprostol. It is often administered to pregnant women to induce labor. It causes uterine contractions and the effacement (or thinning) of the cervix to allow the baby to pass through the birth canal. But Cytotec is only approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for one use: to treat stomach ulcers. No company has yet provided proof to the FDA that Cytotec is safe and effective when used to induce contractions. Under certain conditions, some doctors use it, but it can be risky.
Pitocin is mostly used to accelerate labor. It is a synthetic form of the female hormone Oxytocin, which promotes uterine contractions and makes them stronger and longer lasting. But when too much Pitocin is administered, it can cause contractions to occur much closer together. This can inhibit the placenta’s ability to replenish the baby’s oxygen supply during birth.
There are many other medications that are important throughout pregnancy and during delivery. These drugs ease morning sickness, reduce pain, stop bleeding, treat infections, and ease many other symptoms or conditions. Although these medications may be necessary, it is critical for your doctor to understand when and how to administer these drugs and how they interact with the mother’s – and baby’s – body chemistry, along with other drugs, and even certain foods the mother might take.
Though the baby’s placenta and umbilical cord supply oxygen and critical nutrients from the mother to the baby, it also means that any medications given to the mother pass to her child. When a healthcare professional fails to understand how these medicines can harm the baby, it can lead to negative consequences before the child is even born.
When Medication Errors Constitute Malpractice
Most obstetric specialists understand when medication dosages are incorrect. They also recognize that certain drug interactions cause harm or injury. However, sometimes babies suffer serious, sometimes life-threatening birth injuries due to medication errors.
All medical professionals have a high duty of care to their patients. So if a pregnant mother’s physician fails to monitor a mother and baby prior to birth, or if the delivery doctor or member of the birthing team fails to notice signs of distress or medication toxicity during delivery, it is likely due to negligence. And if this injures a mother or baby, it is medical malpractice.
Sadly, when such events occur, doctors, other medical professionals and even the hospital where the birthing error took place may not be willing to cooperate or be forthcoming with information due to their fear of liability.
This is why it is important for families who have been victims of birthing medication errors to seek the counsel of an experienced Cook County birth injury lawyer who knows how to investigate a medication error during labor and delivery properly and retain medical experts to make their damages claim strong and compelling.
If your baby suffered an injury due to improper medication, Buttafuoco and Associates’ experienced birth injury attorneys offer a free consultation. Contact us anytime by calling 1-800-HURT-NOW or fill out our online contact form.