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Oxytocin Use in Labor

Legal Implications

Drummond, Susan MSN, RN, C-EFM

The Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing: January/March 2018 - Volume 32 - Issue 1 - p 34–42
doi: 10.1097/JPN.0000000000000300
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Oxytocin is one of the most commonly used medications in obstetrics and has been associated with claims of negligence in cases of adverse outcomes. Errors involving intravenous oxytocin administration for induction or augmentation of labor are most commonly dose related and include failure to avoid or treat tachysystole or failure to asses or treat a fetal heart rate pattern indicative of disruption in oxygenation. Clinicians should be knowledgeable regarding pharmacokinetics of oxytocin and the effect of uterine contractions on fetal oxygenation as well as safe titration of oxytocin to achieve the desired effect while minimizing harm.

Department of OBGYN, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee.

Corresponding Author: Susan Drummond, MSN, RN, C-EFM, Department of OBGYN, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, B-1100 MCN, 1161 21st Ave S, Nashville, TN 37232 (susan.drummond@vanderbilt.edu).

Disclosure: The author has disclosed that she has no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.

Submitted for publication: July 18, 2017; accepted for publication: October 9, 2017.

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