Settlement reached in Pitocin birth injury case

An Iowa woman received a $3.75 million settlement from the state after a labor-inducing drug she received in a state hospital resulted in her baby suffering serious brain injuries.

The drug, Pitocin, was administered in order to hasten the woman’s labor. However, according to her lawsuit, it actually had the opposite effect. The drug excessively prolonged her labor leading to
fetal distress.

The lawsuit claimed that as a result of prolonged labor, the baby suffered head trauma and subsequent brain damage. The plaintiff also argued that she was given the drug unnecessarily and was never advised of the potential harm that it could have on her child.

What is Pitocin?

Pitocin is a drug commonly used to induce labor by increasing the strength, as well as the duration, of contractions. The drug works by making the uterus contract. This happens naturally, but Pitocin speeds the process.

However, it can also have devastating effects for a child if medical professionals do not use electronic fetal monitoring equipment because the drug can cause a decreased flow of blood to the uterus, thus reducing the amount of oxygen that the baby receives. Fetal distress is more common when the drug is used making constant monitoring critical.

Pitocin usage associated with birth injuries

Birth injuries, such as brain injury or cerebral palsy can occur when medical staff members do not closely monitor the vital signs of a baby when administering Pitocin.

Cerebral palsy is a disorder that can severely affect the proper use of muscles. If a baby does not receive enough oxygen during the birth process, the baby can suffer from hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).

This lack of oxygen during delivery is a common cause of cerebral palsy and related disabilities.

Has your baby been injured because of negligence?

Birth injuries often occur because of the negligent actions of medical personnel, including:

  • Failure to provide adequate prenatal care to the mother
  • Failure to notice, or respond in a timely manner, when a baby is in distress during birth
  • Giving the mother too much medication during the birth process

If your child has suffered a birth injury because of the negligence of a medical professional, contact an attorney. An experienced Pennsylvania medical malpractice lawyer can advise you of your rights, let you know what damages you are eligible to receive on behalf of your child and help you file a claim.