Is Pitocin a Miracle Drug or a Doomsday Drug?
Pitocin is one of the most widely-used labor induction drugs in the world. For many mothers and families, it is a miracle drug. In fact, the chemist who synthesized pitocin in 1955 won a Nobel Prize for his efforts. This drug stimulates and strengthens labor contractions, greatly reducing the risk of a C-section.
However, pit also has some significant complications, such as Uterine Hyperstimulation and associated conditions. More on that below.
Like most things in our world, the truth is somewhere between these two extremes. There is certainly a risk that pitocin could cause some serious complications. If that happens, you need an assertive Brandon personal injury attorney to stand up for you in court. Otherwise, hospitals often try to quietly sweep these problems under the rug.
Pitocin Uses and Risks
Typically, doctors rely on pitocin for more than decreased C-section risk. Most deliveries in the United States are scheduled inductions. Generally, as soon as mothers arrive at hospitals, nurses begin administering pitocin. Frequently, doctors only perform cursory examinations. Sometimes, they are not at the hospital at all.
If mothers show little signs of progress after a few hours of pitocin, that probably means the mother’s body is not ready to give birth and that induction should be rescheduled. But many doctors put time and convenience ahead of the mother’s health. So, they do the opposite. They order pit increases. Doctors normally issue standing orders in these situations. Once again, they might not even examine the mother before nurses increase medication.
Pitocin contractions are much stronger and closer together than natural contractions. As a result, the mother’s uterus might not get enough breaks and the placenta might be unable to nourish the baby. This condition is called UH. If the doctor is present, the doctor should be able to see signs of fetal distress and pull the pitocin plug if appropriate. But this obviously cannot happen if the doctor is somewhere else.
Nurses do their best. But their training only goes so far, and items often get lost in translation when they talk to doctors. Therefore, physicians, and not nurses, are ultimately responsible if things go wrong.
If not addressed promptly and properly, UH causes placental abruption, uterine rupture, and a number of other conditions that are life-threatening to both mothers and babies.
Physician Duty of Care
Patients are completely dependent on doctors for all their medical treatment. Therefore, patients have a fiduciary duty toward their patients. Doctors must set aside all other concerns, such as making money or the patient’s schedule, and only do what is medically best for their patients.
If doctors break this duty of care, the victim could be entitled to substantial compensation. This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.
Additional punitive damages are often available as well. Victim/plaintiffs must present clear and convincing evidence that the doctor intentionally disregarded a known risk. Given the high duty of care, this showing is relatively easy. A punitive damages cap might apply in some cases.
Connect with Tenacious Attorneys
Doctors must administer pitocin and other drugs with the utmost care. For a free consultation with an experienced Brandon medical malpractice lawyer, contact Reed & Reed, Attorneys at Law. We have four area offices (St. Petersburg, Lakeland, Tampa, and Clearwater).