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Pitocin Errors

Lawyers Assisting Children and Their Families in Syracuse

Pitocin is a synthetic form of oxytocin, a hormone that strengthens uterine contractions. During natural labor, oxytocin production increases to assist in the baby being born. However, if a woman doesn’t go into labor by the baby’s due date or her contractions are weak as labor progresses, Pitocin may be administered. Sometimes, contractions induced by Pitocin errors are much stronger or more frequent than they should be, and the baby is injured as a result. If you believe your baby suffered an injury due to a Pitocin error, you should consult the seasoned Syracuse birth injury attorneys of DeFrancisco & Falgiatano.

Pitocin Errors

Ordinarily, when a uterus contracts due to oxytocin, the flow of oxygen in and out of the placenta slows. However, the placenta rests between contractions allowing the baby to receive oxygen. However, if Pitocin is administered in too strong a dose, or a second dose is given labor may be excessively accelerated. There may be insufficient rest in between contractions; the uterus may be hyper-stimulated and, as a result of the restriction of blood flow between the mother and baby, the baby can lose oxygen. Additionally, there may be maternal hemorrhage, irregular heartbeat, ruptured uterus, an allergic reaction, premature separation of the uterus, or even death.

Not every Pitocin error is medical malpractice. In order to show you’re entitled to damages, you’ll need to show it’s more likely than not: (1) you had a doctor-patient relationship with the defendant, (2) the defendant failed to abide by the professional standard of care growing out of the doctor-patient relationship, (3) the failure caused you harm, and (4) damages.

In order to explain to a jury what the professional standard of care is, how the defendant departed from it, and that the departure, rather than something organic, caused the baby’s birth injury, a lawyer will need to retain one or more experts. The expert will likely be a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist who can provide an expert opinion about whether the Pitocin error failed to meet the professional standard of care. The professional standard of care hinges on what reasonably competent obstetrician-gynecologists in the Syracuse area, when faced with similar or the same circumstances and patient, would have done.

Harm to a fetus associated with a Pitocin-induced complication may include fetal asphyxia, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, brain and spinal cord injuries, cerebral palsy, low Apgar scores, neonatal jaundice, paralysis, seizures, and retinal hemorrhage. Sometimes a Pitocin error causes a fatal injury.

Certificate of Merit

An expert must be consulted even before the lawsuit is filed. New York medical malpractice law requires a lawyer consult with a physician who is licensed to practice and who the attorney reasonably believes is knowledgeable about pertinent issues involved in the lawsuit, and has reached a conclusion on the basis of the review and consultation that there is a reasonable basis to commence an action. A lawyer will need to file a certificate of merit attesting to this consultation and conclusion when the complaint is filed.


Pitocin errors may result in birth injuries that are not only physically and emotionally harmful, but expensive, too. If we can establish your doctor is liable, we may be able to obtain compensatory damages to cover economic and noneconomic losses arising out of the birth injury, as well as any injuries to the mother. Economic losses may include medical bills, rehabilitation, therapy, and out-of-pocket costs. Noneconomic losses may include pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of living.

Hire an Attorney in Syracuse

If your baby was harmed by a Pitocin error, you may be able to file a lawsuit for damages on behalf of you and your baby. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, our seasoned lawyers represent injured babies and their families in Rochester, Syracuse, and other Upstate New York cities such as Cooperstown, Oneida, Lyons, Canandaigua, Auburn, Oswego, Wampsville, Binghamton, Ithaca, Watertown, Elmira, Lowville, Herkimer, and Utica. Contact DeFrancisco & Falgiatano at 833-200-2000 or by completing our online form.

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"We were very impressed with how Jeff DeFrancisco represented us at trial and we were extremely happy when the jury found in our favor." D.M., Auburn, NY
"I suffered a serious injury as a result of medical malpractice. My husband and I retained Jeff DeFrancisco to assist us in this case. We were extremely happy with his representation and highly recommend him." Kelley R., Syracuse, NY
Since the insurance company was unwilling to settle the matter my case ultimately went to trial. At trial Jeff DeFrancisco did an absolutely amazing job by obtaining a very favorable result for me." T.H., Oneida, NY
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