Most of the standard procedures used by OB/GYN doctors during the process of labor and delivery have been carefully examined and vetted to ensure the protection of both mother and baby.
In some tragic cases, however, doctors veer away from best practices for their own convenience. When they do this, they put mothers and babies at risk for no good reason. One of the most common and horrifying examples of this kind of practice is the administration of misoprostol (brand name Cytotec), during labor and delivery.
Misopristol has been used by obstetricians to soften the cervix, speed up contractions, and control post-partum bleeding. But the benefits are far outweighed by the potential risks, which include uterine rupture, maternal death and infant injury or death. It’s amazing that any doctors still administer this drug at all during labor and delivery.
Doctors and the government know this drug is dangerous
Misoprostol (Cytotec) is approved for use in adults to treat or prevent ulcers. It is perhaps better known as the second medication in the abortion pill for terminating unwanted pregnancies. For this reason it is not approved for use to treat ulcers in pregnant women. In fact, the drug comes with a specific label warning cautioning against use on pregnant women or during labor. Both the FDA and the manufacturer have warned of the dangers.
Although rare, cases of uterine tearing have been directly correlated to the use of misoprostol, making it more risky than beneficial for pregnant women. The risk is greater for women who have had previous uterine surgery, previous Cesarean delivery, or several previous births.
If a woman’s uterus tears, she may experience heavy bleeding (hemorrhage). The mother or the baby, possibly both, could die as a result. Even in cases where neither dies, the mother may require an emergency hysterectomy, preventing her from ever having another child. In hopes of making delivery faster and more convenient for the doctor, the patient could suffer consequences for the rest of her life.
Families injured by off-label use of drugs deserve compensation
Birth injuries can often lead to major settlements when it’s clear that a doctor’s actions or poor judgment resulted in a serious injury or a fatality. The off-label administration of misoprostol in childbirth is a mistake and unnecessary risk that can cost your family loved ones or the potential for children in the future.
It’s impossible to put a price on your fertility, your baby’s health or your spouse’s life. However, a medical malpractice claim can help alleviate the economic loss and ensure that the doctor is held accountable for putting your family in needless risk. Doctors should always put the safety and well-being of their patients above their personal needs or desire to get out of work at a certain time.
For doctors who fail their patients so seriously, it’s important that there are real consequences. Otherwise, what will prevent them from doing the same thing to another family in the future?