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Past malpractice lawsuits may help reduce birth injuries

Doctors and hospitals are using past medical malpractice cases to avoid repeating mistakes that could put patients at risk and give rise to future claims. Shoulder dystocia was found to occur the most frequently among the birth injury lawsuits examined.

According to The Wall Street Journal, malpractice insurers and medical specialty groups are analyzing thousands of closed malpractice lawsuits and past claims to identify the common reasons doctors are sued. Hospitals are using the findings to enhance patient safety and improve diagnosis and treatment.

The sources of malpractice lawsuits were found to vary according to medical specialty. In obstetrics, incidents of shoulder dystocia were prevalent among the birth injuries alleged in lawsuits between 2007 and 2014. Shoulder dystocia occurs when a baby’s shoulder gets stuck in the mother’s pelvis during a vaginal delivery. It can damage the baby’s brachial plexus, the network of nerves that runs from the neck to the arm and hand.

Data from the claims indicated doctors did not properly evaluate high-risk mothers, such as those with a history of shoulder dystocia during past deliveries or with larger babies. Mothers who are overweight or diabetic are considered high-risk as well and may be unable to undergo a safe vaginal delivery. Medical staff also failed to prepare for emergency caesarean-sections or deal with medical complications such as high maternal blood pressure.

Doctors can improve childbirth outcomes by identifying high-risk pregnancies. They can also counsel mothers about their delivery options and the associated risks. In addition, conducting regular simulations and mock drills with medical staff can also help prepare them for birth emergencies.

It is important to note that determining fault can be more complicated than it might seem. If you or your child was injured and you believe someone else is fully or partially to blame, contact Chalik & Chalik to learn more about your rights.

Birth Injury, Medical Malpractice, News