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Birth injuries reduced by implementation of safety procedures

By Rheingold Giuffra Ruffo Plotkin & Hellman LLP

As some New York residents may know, the risks associated with giving birth differ from one hospital to another. Although obstetrical organizations have adopted guidelines that might decrease the risks, the guidelines may not be enforced.

About the safety programs

Since 2000, four hospital groups have implemented safety programs and guidelines that have resulted in fewer maternal and fetal deaths and birth trauma. The programs include models for dealing with emergencies during the birthing process, more effective communication skills, monitoring compliance with procedures aimed at high-risk pregnancy and the use of cesarean section.

Frequency of poor obstetrical outcomes

Poor obstetrical outcomes due to communication failure occur about 65 percent of the time. Further, the use of cesarean section in lieu of natural delivery is risky, and the use of this procedure has increased dramatically.

Programs improve outcomes

The safety programs have resulted in a significantly lower incidence of birth injury in the four organizations involved in the programs. One health organization that owns 43 hospitals saw a decrease of 50 percent in infant mortalities, which is 62 percent lower than that seen nationwide. Another decreased oxygen deprivation injuries to two percent of the nationwide number. A third reduced 74 percent of birth trauma injuries, while a fourth registered an 86 percent decrease in trauma related to pulmonary emboli.

Another benefit of the programs involved decreased cost due to the reduced number of cesarean births and litigation. By implementing such programs, the rate of infant mortality may be drastically reduced.

When a physician fails to respond appropriately to emergencies during birth or improper procedures are used, birth injuries and death may result. The parents may experience the financial burden associated with this and may benefit from speaking with an attorney. The attorney may assist the parents in recovering damages by filing a malpractice suit against the obstetrician.

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