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Medication Errors with Pitocin and Cytotec Can Lead to Birth Injuries

Posted on in Birth Injury

Chicago birth injury attorney pitocin cytotec

The medical advances made in the last 100 years have dramatically reduced the number of birth injuries and stillborn births in the United States. Drugs administered during pregnancy, labor, and delivery can help reduce maternal pain, avoid complications, and prevent injuries to the newborn child. Unfortunately, if there is a medication error, the consequences can be devastating. Medication mistakes can cause lifelong complications or even death to both mothers and infants. If you or a loved one were the victim of a medication error during pregnancy or birth, you will want to understand the reasons these errors occurred and the steps you should take.

Improper Drug Administration or Dosing

Some of the most common medication mistakes that lead to infant and maternal injuries involve the drugs Cytotec and Pitocin. Cytotec, or the generic version of this medication, misoprostol, is intended to treat stomach ulcers. However, it is sometimes used “off-label” to induce labor. While this medication can be very beneficial in some circumstances, if used incorrectly, it can cause debilitating injuries, including but not limited to:

  • Uterine hyperstimulation, causing very strong, frequent contractions that may lead to an inadequate blood supply to the baby

  • Uterine rupture, which may cause severe bleeding and inadequate oxygen to the baby

  • Asphyxia, leading to infant brain damage, severe bleeding, and even maternal death or death of the baby

  • Increased risk of an emergency C-section

  • Infant death or maternal death

Pitocin is a synthetic version of oxytocin, the hormone that stimulates contractions of the uterus during labor. Pitocin can be a beneficial medication, but if too much of the drug is given to a mother, it can cause contractions that are too frequent. This may cause the baby’s brain to be deprived of oxygen, which can lead to birth asphyxia, cerebral palsy, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), seizures, brain damage, and other serious birth injuries. Pitocin use during labor has also been associated with hypertension, retinal hemorrhages, uterine rupture, fetal acidemia, anaphylaxis, and pelvic hematoma.

What Are My Options Following a Medication Error?

Medication mistakes can cause severe and lifelong injuries. A child may grow up with intellectual or physical disabilities that require extensive medical treatment. The child’s disabilities may even prevent him or her from ever being able to live an independent life. Depending on the circumstances of the case, medication errors may be considered medical negligence, and parents will want to determine who was responsible and whether they may be able to receive assistance with the financial needs resulting from the injuries they have suffered. A family may be able to receive financial compensation for the child’s medical care, physical therapy, prescription medication costs, and more. The mother may also be able to receive compensation for her own injuries and damages. 

Contact a Chicago Birth Injury Attorney

Doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals must use extreme caution when administering medications to pregnant women. If you are concerned that you suffered a birth injury due to the misuse of drugs during pregnancy or birth, you should speak to a knowledgeable Cook County medication injury lawyer from Birth Injury Law Alliance to discuss your legal options. Call us today at 312-945-1300 to schedule a free consultation.



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