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Pitocin Birth Injury Lawsuit Uncovers Little Known Danger

Many parents are well acquainted with the drug, Pitocin can cause birth injuries. Pitocin, a synthetic version of the hormone oxytocin, is commonly given to mothers to help speed up the labor process. Because it is used so frequently, expectant parents are often familiar with it before the time for delivery has even come and the great majority of them believe the drug is perfectly safe. Now there is growing evidence to suggest that it may not be safe as an increasing number of cases emerge showing that Pitocin can cause excessive contractions leading to a longer delivery. Ultimately, the baby can suffer severe brain damage from a lack of blood flow to the brain, which could result in the baby developing cerebral palsy. This is just what one family went through five years ago when a university hospital's use of Pitocin led to a grueling 28 hour labor. Staff at the hospital continued to give the mother Pitocin despite records showing the baby's head was sustaining significant head trauma due to problems descending down the birth canal. Although a caesarean delivery otherwise known as a c-section was eventually performed, the family believes the hospital's failure to perform the emergency c-section when it was necessary led to their son's cerebral palsy. After debating legal action for some time, the family eventually decided to sue the hospital for their negligence. The rising cost of caring for their son was a major impetus behind their decision. In their medical malpractice lawsuit, the family accused of the hospital of administering Pitocin before making a determination that the mother's own contractions, which were occurring naturally, were too strong or too frequent. Rather than go through a lengthy trial, the hospital settled and has agreed to pay $3.75 million for the boy's injuries and continued care. If the hospital hadn't settled, they could have gotten tied up in a lengthy trial that could have cost them $6.3 million if they had lost. By settling, the hospital did not have to admit any wrongdoing in the baby's delivery. Sources:, "AP News Break: Iowa to pay $3.75 million in boy's injuries," Ryan J. Foley, 1 July 2012 and, "Scary Brain Damage Lawsuit Could Spell Trouble for Pitocin Births," Linda Sharps, 4 July 2012

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