Obstetrics is a division of medicinal practice that deals with pregnancy and childbirth. Obstetrics care carefully examines a woman’s health during pregnancy and monitors the growth of the unborn child. If there are any complications during pregnancy, they are trained to catch them early on. As a pregnancy progresses, the likelihood of complications arising increases. This is why a woman visits her obstetrics-gynecologist (ob/gym) more often in the last two trimesters of pregnancy. Although most ob/gyn’s can identify complications within a short time frame, some cases go undetected. This may lead to serious or fatal injuries for the mother and baby that later result in a lawsuit.
Complications During Pregnancy and Delivery
When a woman goes in for her first prenatal doctor’s appointment, many tests are run to determine the health of her body and her baby. The primary focus during the first trimester is usually the hormonal levels since they regulate a large part of the pregnancy process at that point. It is not until later in the pregnancy that more in-depth tests are run which reveal the condition of the baby.
Screening During Pregnancy
There are many screenings that are performed, including the quadruple screen which looks for signs of Down Syndrome Screening and Trisomy 18. Sometimes a doctor may make the wrong diagnosis based on a test they ordered. Other times, they may fail to order some tests altogether, missing any opportunity to find an abnormality. This can be later viewed as a case of malpractice or negligence since a standard test was not ordered. Failing to order MRI’s, CAT Scans and X-Rays can also cause a doctor to miss a potential problem.
Although they are not very common, birth injuries can occur from a complicated delivery that requires the use of tools. The doctor may make a judgment call which results in the newborn having a birth injury. Injuries sometimes come from the use of forceps or vacuums used to assist in childbirth. There are also cases of unavoidable events that result in the mother or baby being affected. Every birth has unique circumstances, some of which are out of the medical staff’s control.
Birth Injury Cases
Whenever a birth injury case is brought to court, the attorney uses the evidence present to make a decision. Sometimes the mother, the baby or both are injured. Two common outcomes of such cases are negligence or natural circumstances. Either the medical staff is found to have failed at taking proper care of the mother and infant, or the-the events are determined to have been unavoidable. If the court finds the medical staff to be negligent, the family who suffered the injury normally receives monetary reimbursement. According to a survey conducted by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) in 2012, 77% of the ob/gyn’s said they had been included in a malpractice lawsuit at some point in their careers. Out of these cases, 42% of them were residents when they provided the care in question.
Since childbirth can be a complicated process, many different outcomes are possible. Some mothers suffer an injury from birth, while others find out their baby has been injured. Severe injuries may cause birth defects that affect the child into adulthood. Some cases are found to be the result of obstetrics malpractice, while others are determined to be natural circumstances.