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Colorado Court of Appeals Reverses Decision Regarding Pitocin and Compressive Cerebral Ischemic Encephalopathy

September 9, 2020 in ,

The Colorado Court of Appeals reversed a trial court decision excluding the Compressive Cerebral Ischemic Encephalopathy theory of causation. Cerebral Ischemic Encephalopathy is a head compression that can result from the mismanagement of Pitocin during induction or augmentation. The medical malpractice and birth injury attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo discuss the details of this significant reversal and provide an overview of Compressive Cerebral Ischemic Encephalopathy and its dangers.

Pitocin Induces Labor by Dilating the Cervix During Labor

Pitocin is a synthetic version of oxytocin that doctors may use to induce labor if necessary. It is typically injected through an IV and gradually increased until contractions are spaced two to three minutes apart. Many women choose a Pitocin injection to avoid a cesarean section (C-section) or complications that can arise with a ruptured amniotic sac. The drug works to induce or enhance labor and quicken and strengthen contractions.

There are a number of negative side effects that can occur with Pitocin injection or mismanaged Pitocin administration. These include, but are not limited to,

  • Rupture of the uterus
  • Infection
  • Brain damage to the infant
  • Stroke (to the infant)
  • Fetal distress
  • Slowing of the fetal heart rate, and
  • Fetal death

Additionally, if Pitocin is administered improperly, it can lead to the prolonged or excessive contraction of the uterus, which can cause Compressive Cerebral Ischemic Encephalopathy in infants.

Compressive Cerebral Ischemic Encephalopathy is a Birth Injury Caused by Pitocin Mismanagement

Compressive Cerebral Ischemic Encephalopathy is a type of birth injury that occurs due to excessive pressure on the skull when a woman contracts. This type of birth injury can cause irreparable damage to a newborn’s brain. This type of encephalopathy is not a brain stem injury and need not result in low Apgars, abnormal fetal heart monitor tracings, hypoxia (low pH) or multi-organ failure.

What was the Colorado Court’s Decision?

The Colorado Court recently made a decision to overturn a previous court decision that had made it more difficult to file a claim for birth injury due to Pitocin misuse that caused Compressive Cerebral Ischemic Encephalopathy (CCIE). The Colorado Court’s most recent decision allows more flexibility in filing a claim regarding this specific type of birth injury. Specifically, the previous case held that there was no support in the medical literature to support the claim of CCIE and the Court of Appeals reversed that decision holding that there was ample medical literature about CCIE. Now, it is easier for plaintiffs to file a claim in the Court regarding Compressive Cerebral Ischemic Encephalopathy as a result of Pitocin mismanagement.

Speak to the Birth Injury Attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo P.C.

Pitocin is a very effective medicine but administering excessive Pitocin or not monitoring its use is medical malpractice. The Colorado Court’s decision is a momentous step forward in the right direction for serving plaintiffs whose children have suffered irreversible birth injuries as a result of the mismanagement of Pitocin. It is important for attorneys reviewing or discussing brain damage cases in birth injuries to be aware of this mechanism of injury. Contact the birth injury attorneys at Sullivan Papain Block McGrath Coffinas & Cannavo P.C. to learn more about this major decision.

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