Was Your Child’s Birth Injury Caused by Pitocin?

 Posted on September 23, 2022 in Medical Malpractice

Chicago Birth Injury LawyerYou were hoping to take your healthy newborn home. The last thing you expected was for your infant to be injured after Pitocin was administered during birth. If your child suffered a birth injury, it is necessary to ensure that the responsible parties are held accountable for medical malpractice and that you receive full compensation.

Administering Pitocin to Induce Labor

Pitocin is a drug that is often given to women to induce labor. It is a synthetic version of the hormone oxytocin. The body naturally releases oxytocin in tiny pulses triggering contractions. In the hospital, however, a woman is given a continuous dose of Pitocin intravenously, causing stronger contractions that are closer together. When it is administered properly, it can help uterine contractions occur at a more regular rate. If it is given inadequately, it can result in injuries to both mother and child.

It is vital for your medical team to monitor the heart rate of both the mother and baby during delivery and that they respond promptly to any signs of distress. A fetal heart monitor will let doctors and nurses know when the baby is lacking oxygen and if the medication needs to be adjusted or if a cesarean section is required to prevent injury.

Dangers of Pitocin Causing Child Injuries

Uterine Hyperstimulation – Pitocin can cause the uterus to contract too frequently.

During a uterine contraction, blood flow to the child may stop or slow. At the end of each contraction, blood flow resumes allowing the infant to receive oxygen. But the strength and the frequency of the contractions can deter the uterus from relaxing thereby leading to asphyxia or placental abruption. If the contractions are too forceful, the baby has little time to recover from the decreased blood flow caused by each contraction. 

Low Oxygenation – Too much Pitocin during childbirth can lead to oxygen deprivation and cause permanent brain injuries to the baby, including the following:

  • Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (asphyxia)

  • Cystic encephalomalacia (fluid-filled cyst in brain tissue)

  • Periventricular leukomalacia (increases risk of cerebral palsy)

  • Cerebral palsy

  • Death

Maternal Injuries from Pitocin

Pitocin can also lead to maternal injuries, including:

  • Uterine rupture – can injure the child and lead to postpartum hemorrhaging and death

  • Water intoxication – electrolyte imbalance that can lead to potentially fatal brain injuries

  • Cardiac arrhythmia – irregular heartbeat

  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage – bleeding around the brain that can lead to stroke or death

  • Anaphylaxis – an allergic reaction to Pitocin

You trust that your medical team will act quickly when you and your baby are in immediate danger. Our law firm reached an $11 million settlement with a Chicago area hospital because the labor and delivery team negligently monitored the baby’s heart rate and improperly continued to administer Pitocin when the baby was experiencing hyperstimulation. Failing to act during an emergency can be considered medical negligence.

Call Our Chicago Medical Malpractice Attorneys

Lawyers at Winters Salzetta O'Brien & Richardson, LLC have represented many Chicago families who have suffered as a result of Pitocin use during labor. If you or your child have sustained an injury due to improper use of Pitocin by your medical team, call 312-236-6324 for a free consultation. Our Chicago medical malpractice lawyers have nearly 20 years of experience handling medical malpractice cases related to medication errors during labor and delivery. 



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