While the most well-known and talked about cause of birth injury is alcohol and drug use, some prescription-based medications have been linked to serious infant health risks when taken while pregnant or breastfeeding. Physicians are responsible for ensuring that prescribed medication is absolutely necessary. Failure to ensure that a pregnant woman is safe from the harmful side effects of medication may lead to long-term, chronic medical conditions. When prescribing medication, doctors are legally obligated to asses:
- The relative benefits and risks of the medication in light of the patient's overall health
- The relationship of the prescription to other medications taken by the patient
- The known side effects associated with the medication
Pharmacists must correctly read the doctor's prescription and fill it with the proper medication and dosage. When prescribed medications are administered via injection in a doctor's office or hospital setting, the nurses and other care providers must administer the correct medication in the proper dosage within the medically accepted protocol.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, also called SSRIs, are usually prescribed for depression and anxiety. In 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a public warning, stating that infants are at a heightened risk of developing persistent pulmonary hypertension of the newborn (PPHN) if exposed to certain SSRI medications. These medications include:
How Do I Hold My Medical Provider Accountable?
If a medical professional or hospital makes a medication error that causes a birth injury, the individual or hospital can potentially be found negligent. Medical negligence is based on whether or not another medical professional would have acted differently when presented with the same scenario. If the doctor or hospital is found to be negligent, a birth injury lawsuit can be brought against them. If your claim is based on a failure-to-warn theory, you must show that your doctor did not take the proper steps to advise you of the side effects or other complications associated with the medication. You will likely need expert testimony to prove that a link exists between the medication and the resulting birth injury.
Speak with one of our birth injury lawyers if you think you or your baby might have suffered any negative effects after taking prescribed medication. Contact us now to learn how our Indiana birth injury attorneys can help with your case.