Pitocin Overdose: A Danger to Newborns and Mothers

Pitocin is a synthetic form of something known as Ocytocin, which is a hormone produced in the woman’s body during labor. It serves the purpose of causing contractions of the uterus. As part of the birthing process, sometimes Pitocin will be used as a supplement to aid the woman in starting uterine contractions as well as speed up a woman’s labor if she is having trouble. However, Pitocin used in excess can cause contractions to occur less than 2-3 minutes apart, which can reduce the ability of the placenta to replenish its oxygen supply. When this happens, the baby’s brain may not receive adequate oxygen and the baby could sustain brain damage. This could cause cerebral palsy or other lifelong disabilities to the newborn.

As a result of Pitocin overdose, the mother may show very few signs or have many symptoms. Some of the effects include extreme changes in blood pressure, decreased heart rate, nausea, vomiting, strong contractions, tears in the uterus or vagina, vaginal bleeding, and seizures. The fetus may show signs of fetal hypoxia or inadequate oxygen supply, a low fetal heart rate, or bleeding in the blood vessels of the retina. In some cases, stopping the medicine can serve as treatment – however, in many more cases, once the damage is done there is no reversing it.

Medical Malpractice

In medical malpractice claims, you must be able to show that the doctor did not exercise the proper standard of care. Doctors are trained to administer the correct amount of Pitocin, so if you or your baby show signs of Pitocin overdose, you may be able to prove negligence. In some cases, you as the plaintiff may want to present testimony of another medical expert who can show that the defendant failed to meet the standard duty of care during your birth. Regardless of what you show, you should have an experienced attorney on your side to help you through it. Call us today at Maggiano, DiGirolamo & Lizzi for more information on how we can help you with your claim.