Did your baby suffer a birth injury caused by medication?
The effects of prescription drugs on a baby in utero may be severe enough to cause injury or birth defects. For this reason, you should always talk to your doctor about any medications that you take while pregnant, along with any herbal supplements or over-the-counter medications.
What medications have been involved in litigation for causing birth defects or injuries?
Expectant mothers often struggle with finding out which medications are most harmful to a developing baby. Information from the drug manufacturers is useful for deciding the risks associated with medications.
Some of the drugs that have been linked to causing birth defects or injury include:
- Accutane – acne medication
- Antibiotics – oral, topical or infusion medications that treat infections
- Cytotec/Cervidil – an oral medication that induces labor
- DES – a hormone
- Diflucan – medication for yeast infections
- NSAIDs – prescription and over-the-counter pain medications
- Pitocin – an injected hormone that helps induce labor
- Thalidomide – a medication that treats cancer and skin conditions, as well as morning sickness and nausea
- Zofran/Zuplenz/Ondansetron – a morning sickness and nausea drug
- Warfarin – a blood thinner
All of these drugs have been involved in litigation, with Cytotec/Cervidil and Pitocin side effects on babies being among the drugs most commonly associated with birth injury-related litigation. A physician’s care and supervision are necessary to help protect a pregnant woman and her developing child from side effects.
As many as 22 percent of births require induction, accomplished through the use of Cytotec, an oral medication, or Cervidil, a vaginal insert. Both medications dilate the cervix and help produce contractions to allow birth to occur faster.
Pitocin is administered via infusion, resulting in an easier birth. This drug works by helping the cervix to dilate faster, enabling an easier birth with a decreased risk of complications.
When doctors use these medications, the intention is to reduce high blood pressure and prevent infections, as well as make labor easier. Proper administration and monitoring are necessary to prevent adverse reactions.
Doctors also prescribe these medications to help reduce the severity of morning sickness. However, as with other medications, doctors need to monitor the dosage carefully.
Examples of birth defects or injury related to medications
Cytotec side effects for babies include hyperstimulation, uterine rupture and placental abruption. All of these side effects are potentially harmful to a mother and her future child-bearing abilities, and can disrupt a baby’s oxygen flow.
Oxygen deprivation, known as hypoxia, can result in injuries to the baby. Cerebral palsy, developmental and intellectual disabilities and seizure disorders are possible conditions that babies may develop.
Cervidil side effects on babies include hyperstimulation. As with Cytotec, babies are at risk of hypoxia, which can cause a condition known as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).
Cerebral palsy is one of the conditions that can result from hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy. Severe brain damage or the death of a baby are also possible side effects associated with this drug.
The side effects of Pitocin on a baby are most often related to the consequences of contractions occurring too closely together. Abnormal heart rate, jaundice, seizures, muscle tone and breathing problems are possible side effects, along with an increased risk for autism.
Can pharmaceutical companies be held liable for birth injuries?
Drug manufacturers have the legal obligation to disclose risks so that mothers can make an informed decision, ensuring that doctors and their patients always know what they may expect from side effects. However, pharmaceutical companies often fall short in ensuring that mothers and their doctors receive this information.
Many congenital disabilities or injuries are traumatic for the baby and their parents. However, the effects that these conditions have can be lifelong and present challenges for a mother as she raises her child.
Examples of some of the challenges that children with birth defects or injuries might face include:
- Heart defects that may require later treatment, including surgery
- Light treatment for jaundice
- Difficulty with the control of or use of their muscles
- Required oxygen therapy to treat breathing difficulties
- Speech, walking and other developmental delays
If your child has a birth defect or injury, a knowledgeable birth injury attorney can get you the help you need for your child. Choosing an attorney with experience in birth injury cases may help you increase your chances of a better outcome in your case.
Reach out to our team at Brown Trial Firm today for your free consultation. We are ready to fight for you and your baby’s rights.
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- Caput Succedaneum and Cephalohematoma
- Cerebral Palsy
- Cesarean Section & Birth Injury
- Developmental Delays
- Facial Paralysis
- Fetal Intolerance to Labor
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- Jaundice (Kernicterus)