Syntocinon, also known as synthetic oxytocin, is a drug that many mothers may have heard about or been given during childbirth. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reports that it is used “for the initiation or improvement of uterine contractions, where this is desirable and considered suitable, in order to achieve early vaginal delivery for fetal or maternal reasons.” In other words, it is used to induce labor when doctors deem it necessary for the health of the mother or child. The wide range of information on the prescription medication at Drugs.com can be found here.
Like all drugs, Syntocinon can be a crucial tool to help a patient or, when not used properly, can cause more harm than good. Our Chicago birth injury lawyers appreciate that these labor inducements drugs must be managed properly at all times to ensure their safety. Sadly, cases continue to come up where that proper care may not have been provided.
Syntocinon Birth Injury Lawsuit
For example, the Herald Sun reported on the ongoing arguments in a birth injury lawsuit out of Australia involving a brain injury that was allegedly caused in part by problems with the drug Syntocinon.
The case stems from the March 2000 birth a boy, now twelve, who suffered a severe brain injury during his delivery. The child’s mother initially went into labor at home with the help of two midwives. However, by 8:30pm that evening there was obvious trouble. The midwives called the hospital, though there is disagreement about what was said during that conversation.
In any event, by 10pm the mother was brought to the private hospital. Things did not improve at that time. The doctor claims he tried a forceps delivery right away, but it was not successful. Ultimately the boy was born via Caesarean section. The dramatic delivery was not without its permanent consequences, however, as the child suffered from a catastrophic hypoxic brain injury. He developed cerebral palsy and has a shortened life expectancy–he is not expected to live past 30 years old. He is wheelchair bound and suffers from various other limitations.
The mother eventually contacted a birth injury lawyer and filed a suit against the hospital and obstetrician involved in the delivery. The central issue in the case was the claim that the doctor gave the woman an excessive dose of the drug Syntocinon to induce labor. The drug caused strong contractions which complicated the situation and led to the brain injury.
Expectedly, the hospital and doctor deny the claim. They argue that the midwives did not properly inform them of the complexity of the situation upon the woman’s arrival during the birth.
The trial in the case is set to continue this week.
These types of cases, where problems with prescription drugs are at issue, can be complex. On one hand, some drug error lawsuits are related to the underlying safety of the medication itself. That does not appear to be what is alleged here. Instead, this case is a more traditional medical malpractice suit, involving problems with the dosage given and the decisionmaking on the part of the medical professionals.
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