Both pregnancy and the process of laboring to give birth put mother and unborn child at high levels of risk. The doctor overseeing the care for a woman in labor should monitor her carefully and follow all safety protocols.
There are many different medications and treatments approved for use during pregnancy, labor and delivery. Unfortunately, there are other medications that have known, dangerous consequences for both mother and child. Surprisingly, despite large warning labels from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), some doctors will still give women off-label drugs during labor that could kill them.
Cytotec does not have approval for use during labor
The drug Cytotec, which is the brand name for misoprostol, is a well-known ulcer medication. The FDA has approved the use of the drug for the treatment of ulcers. However, there are OB-GYNs who use this medication to speed up labor or help with the effacement of the cervix despite the FDA warning against such use of the drug.
Doctors may reference the fact that they have never had a negative outcome when justifying their decision to use a drug in an off-label manner. However, the issue isn’t how most people respond to the drug. It is the fact that in a small number of women, the drug can cause catastrophic uterine tearing and hemorrhaging.
If a woman has a negative reaction to the drug, it could kill her. It could also kill her unborn baby. Even if they both survive, the medication could result in such severe damage to her uterus that she becomes permanently infertile in the future. Understanding if a doctor did something they should not have could be the first step toward holding them accountable for what may be medical malpractice.