Prescription drugs are commonly administered during labor and delivery. Countless infants and mothers benefit from a range of drugs that can ease pain, speed up delivery, and ensure their health and safety. According to the American Pregnancy Association, more than half of all women rely on epidural anesthesia or other medication for the purposes of pain relief during childbirth.
Despite the potential benefits, there are also countless risks that can come with the use of prescription drugs during labor and delivery. It is vital that doctors take care to ensure that they deliver appropriate doses and avoid dangerous chemical interactions. These mistakes could be harmful to both the mother and the baby.
If you or your infant suffered medical injuries due to drug-related negligence, the Birth Injury Lawyers Group is ready to advocate on your behalf. Our team of litigators can advise you of your legal rights and assist you in recovering compensation for your injuries. Call (800) 222-9529 to schedule your confidential case evaluation with a drug-related negligence lawyer today.
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Common Drugs Used During Childbirth
Given the pain that comes with childbirth, it should come as no surprise that pain relievers are especially common. These are not the only drugs administered during the course of labor and delivery, however. To better understand the scope of a potential negligence claim, it is helpful to know the different possible drugs that doctors might prescribe during the course of a birth.
Pain Relief During Labor
Pain relief is easily the most common reason doctors prescribe medications during childbirth. While many mothers deal with pain using natural methods, like breathing exercises, others prefer a range of prescription or over-the-counter medications to deal with the pain. Most of the time, the use of pain relievers does not result in any form of medical complication for the mother or the child. However, some situations can be especially dangerous.
Incorrect delivery of these drugs—especially in the form of an epidural—can have life-altering consequences. Additionally, incorrect dosages or dangerous drug combinations can also lead to serious complications. Some commonly used pain relievers during birth include:
- Local anesthesia. In cases of vaginal tearing or injury, the doctors will often administer small doses of local anesthetic.
- The most commonly used pain reliever during childbirth, an epidural involves an injection directly into the spinal column before active labor begins. While effective in numbing the pain, a mistake during the injection process could result in spinal damage or paralysis.
- Spinal block. Similar to an epidural, a spinal block is an injection into the mother’s lower back. This medication is usually stronger than an epidural, but it does not last as long.
- An array of opiates could also offer pain relief during labor, including morphine, Stadol, and Demerol. These could be administered by IV drip or injection.
In addition to managing pain, doctors also frequently administer drugs to induce labor. When labor stalls out, it can sometimes last for hours. Stalled labor could present a threat to the health of the mother or the baby. In cases where the water breaks and there are no contractions or when the baby is well past the due date, medication might be necessary to speed up the process.
The most common drug used for labor induction is known as Pitocin. This synthetic hormone triggers uterine contractions, which causes the baby to travel into the birth canal. These doses are usually administered through an IV drip, injection, or pump.
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Risks of Impairment Due to Negligence
There are countless potential consequences that can come with drug-related negligence. The failure to provide needed medication can be just as damaging as the use of drugs that were unsafe, depending on the circumstances.
These errors not only risk injury to the mother, but they also put the health and safety of the child at risk too. A worst-case scenario could result in fatal injuries. Some of the potential side effects on the child could include:
- Elevated heart rate
- Breathing concerns
- Poor muscle tone
- Brain damage
Any of these conditions could result in a claim for compensation on behalf of your infant. You may also have a claim for damages if you suffer injuries related to this negligence as well. A drug-related negligence lawyer could advise you of your legal rights and assist you in pursuing your claim for compensation.
If you are ready to talk about your options, do not hesitate to contact the Birth Injury Lawyers Group as soon as possible. Call (800) 222-9529 today.
Common Examples of Drug-Related Negligence
Drug-related negligence can come about in many different ways. While it is common to assign blame for these medical mistakes to the doctor prescribing or delivering the drug, the reality is these claims could also involve nurses, administrators, or clerical staff. Some of the ways negligence could result in a drug-related injury include:
- Administration of an overdose
- Failure to check patient records for potentially harmful drug interactions
- Illegible handwriting on prescription orders
- Failure to recognize signs of allergic reactions
- Improper fetal monitoring
- Failure to prescribe needed medication
- Mixing up medications
Any of these acts represent a major breach in the standard of care you and your infant deserve. Your attorney could help you hold a negligent healthcare provider accountable for any of these devastating errors.
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You Could be Eligible for Compensation Due to Injuries from Drug-Related Negligence
Dealing with the fallout of a drug error is never easy. Knowing that the negligence of a doctor or other medical professional put the health of your infant at risk is far more challenging to accept. The good news is that you have an outlet under the law to hold the at-fault party accountable.
A drug-related negligence lawyer can evaluate your claim and assist you with every step of the litigation process. To learn more about how the right attorney can aid you in your pursuit of compensation, call (800) 222-9529 and schedule a free consultation with the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today.