Birth Injuries and Maternal Mortality
It’s a well-known fact in the healthcare industry that for providers in obstetrics, liability insurance is steep. This is because birth injuries are so preventable and so devastating. When the events in a delivery room go horribly wrong, the consequences can be catastrophic and can lead to life-long damages for an injured infant. Birth Injury Medical malpractice cases can involve an array of errors and omissions – from failure to detect or respond to fetal distress, improper use and application of monitoring devices, improper use of forceps or vacuum extractors during delivery, improper positioning maneuvers, failure to diagnose or manage placental or cord issues, failure to schedule or timely perform a cesarean section when necessary, failure to provide appropriate resuscitation effort to infant or mother, and more. What’s more, sometimes preventable life-long issues begin in the prenatal period. These outpatient missteps can include an obstetrical provider’s failure to recognize or manage gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced hypertension (PIH), or HELLP syndrome in the outpatient setting; failure to detect group B strep-positive cases; failure to address RH blood type incompatibilities; failure to screen for, to timely recognize or diagnose congenital malformations and birth defects; inappropriate prescription of contraindicated medications during pregnancy, failure to refer a high-risk patient to maternal-fetal medicine (MFM), among other issues that may arise. Mothers can also suffer long-term damages or even mortality at the hands of negligent providers. The loss of particularly young mothers can have far-reaching implications, the need for dramatic lifestyle shifts, and pain and suffering in multiple survivors. Some of the causes of preventable maternal demise include late recognition of postpartum hemorrhage, unchecked hypertension, obstructed labor, sepsis, retained placenta, and unrecognized cardiac events. Well-informed advanced practice registered nurses with specialized qualifications in obstetrics and women’s health possess the insight required to review medical records and determine if any industry standards of care–for both the nurses and providers involved– have been overlooked or neglected. With a deep knowledge of healthcare protocols in and outside the hospital setting, specialty certified nurse midwives and outpatient obstetrics and women’s health Nurse Practitioners are uniquely positioned to evaluate all facets of patient care in this special population.