According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), opioid use during pregnancy has skyrocketed over the last several years, mirroring its use in the general population. The problem with opioids and pregnancy in Ohio is compounded as it can permanently affect the life of the unborn child.
The use of opioids during pregnancy can lead to a wide range of physical, mental, and emotional problems for the child. These problems can lead to a host of other challenges for the child’s caretaker(s), including difficulty affording the specialized care that the child needs.
In fact, some families caring for these opioid addicted babies will seek the help of a knowledgeable attorney who can help them seek compensation to help meet these needs.
Minimizing the Use of Opioids in Pregnancy
Based on the evidence, ACOG recommends that doctors treating pregnant women for chronic pain avoid or at least minimize the use of opioid drugs. Non-opioid pharmacologic options exist as well as alternative treatments for pain including physical therapy, exercise, and behavioral modifications.
Another way to decrease the use of opioids during pregnancy is to discourage pregnancies until patients are off their opioid medication and well-managed without it, or on other effective treatments for their chronic pain. This is extremely important as the effects of taking opioids while pregnant in Ohio can be severe. This can result in:
- Low birth weight
- Feeding difficulties
- Premature birth
- Spina Bifida
- Congenital heart defects
Due to the severe effects opioids can have on pregnancies and infants in Ohio, it is important to work on curbing their usage.
Physician Duty in Ohio
All physicians have a duty to not only do no harm to their patients but to also act in a way that another reasonable physician would in a similar situation. To help decrease the use of opioids and therefore decrease the risk of poor outcomes for the fetus, doctors can do the following:
- Ensure that opioids are only used when absolutely necessary in women of childbearing age
- Educate patients on the risks and benefits of opioid therapy, including its potential impact on pregnancy and the developing fetus
- Review patient history of substance abuse and review the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program database
- Discuss family planning options with patients prior to prescribing opioids
If a physician fails to take action to mitigate the damages to a pregnant mother and her child due to opioid use or abuse, they may be found liable. Families who can prove that the injuries, damages, and suffering a child endured are a result of a doctor’s negligence, may be entitled to a monetary award.
Additionally, pharmaceutical companies can be held liable if they allow a dangerous drug, such as an opiate to reach the market.
For help determining who may be liable in an opioids and pregnancy in Ohio case, it may be beneficial to consult an Ohio opioid attorney.
A Compassionate Attorney Can Discuss Ohio Opioids and Pregnancy
Opioids and pregnancy in Ohio can have devastating, long-lasting impacts. Mothers and their babies in this state deserve better than what opioid addiction leaves them with. By holding doctors and pharmaceutical companies accountable for their actions or inactions, families can seek justice for the damage caused by the opioids. If you or a loved one has experienced first-hand what opioids can do to mothers and their babies, there is legal help available. Contact an attorney today for a case evaluation.