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Medication Errors

Chicago birth injury lawyer for wrong medicine prescribed

Help With Birth Injuries Caused By the Wrong Medicine or Dosage - Illinois Medical Malpractice Lawyer

During pregnancy, doctors or nurses may prescribe or administer a variety of medications to address health concerns for the mother or child or to aid in the process of labor and delivery. However, certain medications can result in serious complications, and if an improper medication is prescribed, or if the wrong dose of a drug is administered, the mother or child may experience serious injuries.

Types of Medication Errors

Doctors should take care when prescribing medications to a pregnant mother. Certain types of drugs can cause side effects that may harm an infant, or they may result in birth defects. These drugs include:

  • Antidepressants - Some selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, or Lexapro may place an infant at risk of experiencing persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN), as well as birth defects such as cleft lip or spina bifida.
  • Anti-seizure drugs - Medications such as Depakote, Lamictal, and Tegretol have been associated with birth defects such as spina bifida, craniofacial defects, cleft palate, and speech impairments.
  • Antibiotics - While some types of antibiotics, such as penicillin or erythromycin, are safe to use during pregnancy, drugs such as nitrofurantoins or sulfonamides have been linked to heart defects, malformation of the brain and skull, and diaphragm abnormalities that could lead to severe respiratory issues for an infant.
  • Acne medication - Use of the drug Accutane during pregnancy can lead to severe deformities of a child's heart, brain, or face, and in some cases, these birth defects may result in fetal death.

Drugs administered during labor and delivery can also cause injuries if the wrong dosage is used or if the mother's and child's vital signs are not monitored properly. Medication-related issues may include:

  • Labor induction - Drugs such as Pitocin or Cytotec may be used to induce labor or to assist in speeding up prolonged labor. However, an improper dosage of these drugs can result in uterine hyperstimulation, which may lead to fetal distress, asphyxia, placental abruption, compression of the umbilical cord, or neonatal seizures. These drugs also increase the risk of maternal injuries, such as uterine rupture.
  • Anesthesia - Multiple types of drugs may be used to address the mother's pain during delivery, including:
    • Epidurals - The injection of analgesic drugs into the mother's spinal column reduces feeling in the lower body while allowing some control during delivery. When administered at the wrong dosage, these drugs can cause maternal hypotension (low blood pressure), which may inhibit the flow of oxygen to the baby. In addition, the loss of feeling may make it more difficult for the mother to push during delivery, and a doctor may need to use tools such as forceps or vacuum extractors, which can cause injuries to the child.
    • Spinal blocks - An anesthetic administered directly to the spinal fluid will result in the loss of all sensation in the lower body. This type of anesthesia is typically used during Cesarean delivery. Improper dosage can cause maternal hypotension, and it may result in fetal distress.
    • Opiates - In some cases, narcotic drugs such as morphine, fentanyl, or Demerol may be used to reduce a mother's pain and anxiety. Use of these drugs can cause maternal health issues such as hypotension, nausea, or respiratory depression. They may also affect a child's heart rate and ability to breathe, and they can cause drowsiness for the child, affecting their ability to breastfeed after birth.

When medications are administered during pregnancy or labor, medical personnel should take care to ensure that the proper dosage is used at all times. During labor, a mother's and child's vital signs should be closely monitored, and any adverse reactions should be addressed immediately to prevent injuries.

If medication is administered improperly, this may be considered medical negligence, and it can result in injuries that will affect a family for years to come. If you or your child have suffered harm because of a medication error during pregnancy or birth, the Birth Injury Law Alliance is here to help. We provide free case evaluations, and we can help you understand your options for receiving financial help that will allow you to meet your family's needs. Contact us today at 312-945-1300.

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