Pitocin, Antibiotics, and the Effects on Mother and Child

West Virginia birth injury attorneys handle complex, drug-related cases

Although pregnancy and childbirth are normal experiences for most women, there are times when drugs are necessary to give nature a helping hand. Pregnancy makes some women more prone to infections. Other women have perfectly normal pregnancies but experience problems during labor or delivery. Still others suffer from disorders such as hypertension and diabetes. Modern pharmacology has provided doctors with an arsenal of weapons: drugs that fight infection, induce uterine contractions, or lower blood pressure. But, as powerful as these weapons are against medical disorders, they can be equally dangerous to the patients they are intended to help. The key to their efficacy is their proper and timely administration.

Paulson & Nace, PLLC, a family-owned and managed law firm, has helped other families throughout West Virginia in cases of birth injury. When their mothers, daughters, and newborns suffered a birth injury or trauma because of failure to administer antibiotics or incorrect administration of labor-inducing drugs, we have been there to protect their interests. If you or a loved one has suffered a birth injury because of medical malpractice, let our family of qualified West Virginia medical malpractice attorneys help yours.

When is labor induction appropriate?

There will be times when it is best for an expectant mother to have labor induced. For example when:

  • The mother has developed preeclampsia (PE), a pregnancy disorder characterized by dangerously high blood pressure and kidney involvement. Preeclampsia increases the risk of poor outcomes for both the mother and the baby. Risk factors include obesity, high blood pressure, older age, and diabetes. If left untreated, it may result in seizures. Hypertensive disorders such as PE are among the most common causes of pregnancy-related death.
  • The mother has developed obstetric cholestasis (OC). This liver disorder causes substances normally excreted into the bile to be retained in the blood. Its symptoms are jaundice and extreme itching, and its possible consequence is stillbirth.
  • The baby shows signs of distress. Fetal distress is characterized by a lack of movement or decelerating heart rate and requires immediate response.
  • Labor had begun, but stopped.

In these situations, inducing labor may be the safest course of action. When the baby or the mother’s health is in danger, getting the baby out as quickly as possible may be the best way to ensure the health of both.

It is considered a serious medical error to induce labor with Pitocin in a woman who has had a C-section, as this significantly increases the possibility of a ruptured uterus. Inducing labor with Pitocin is also considered inappropriate when “the baby is overdue.” Expected dates of birth can be, and often are, miscalculated. Pitocin-induced labor is never justifiable for the sake of convenience, either the mother’s or the doctor’s.

Common infections that require antibiotics

The kinds of cases that Paulson & Nace handles are those in which a doctor’s or other medical professional’s treatment violated standards of sound medical practice and caused a patient’s injury or death. These include failure to administer antibiotics to a maternity patient infected by:

  • Chorioamnionitis. A condition that affects the membranes surrounding the fetus and the amniotic fluid. Left untreated, it can lead to respiratory conditions, meningitis, brain damage or sepsis, and may make it necessary to deliver the baby preterm.
  • Group B Strep (GBS). The most common cause among newborns of septicemia (blood poisoning) and meningitis. The bacterium may be found in the female genital and digestive tracts, and may be transmitted to the baby as it passes through the birth canal. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that any pregnant woman who has had a baby with GBS in the past, has a current urinary tract infection caused by GBS, or tests positive for GBS during pregnancy should receive intravenous antibiotics during labor.
  • Trichomoniasis. A sexually transmitted parasite that causes inflammation of the cervix. It can be cured with antibiotics, but if left untreated it can lead to bleeding, low birth weight, and preterm labor.
  • Villitis. This complication of untreated Group B Strep causes the surface of the placenta to become inflamed. Without antibiotic treatment of the underlying infection, villitis causes deterioration of the placenta and, ultimately, fetal death.

Administration of labor-inducing drugs and failure to administer antibiotics pose significant risks to mothers and their babies. Doctors and medical professionals must pay scrupulous attention to developments in both patient and fetal conditions, and be prepared to act timely and appropriately in any adverse circumstances. If you or your baby has sustained injury as a result of either misadministration or failure to administer a necessary medicine or drug you should seek legal counsel from a qualified medical malpractice attorney at once.

Support for mothers and children injured by induced labor, or by failure to receive antibiotic therapy in West Virginia

Our family at Paulson & Nace, PLLC, understands how birth injuries may affect your family for a lifetime, and offer the personal and professional attention you deserve in your time of need.  We are widely recognized throughout West Virginia both for our compassionate care and comprehensive legal services to families and our aggressive advocacy for birth injury victims. When you choose a birth injury lawyer from our practice to represent you, you are choosing a team that values family. Please call 304-741-8079 or fill out our contact form to tell us your story in a no-obligation consultation. Our office is located at 3501 Maccorkle Ave SE, Charleston, WV 25304.

We have dedicated our lives to helping medical malpractice victims. Let our family help yours.

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