Medical intervention during labor and delivery should improve outcomes for expectant mothers and their babies. Unfortunately, there are situations in which healthcare providers make mistakes that can lead to a poor outcome for a mother or her new baby.
There are many different kinds of medical mistakes that can occur, ranging from machinery failures caused by improper device use to a professional making the wrong decision in a moment of panic. In a labor and delivery situation, however, there are largely two specific types of mistakes that cause a significant number of birth injuries annually.
What kinds of medical mistakes are most likely to put a mother and her unborn child at risk?
Inadequate monitoring during labor
One of the most important steps that the doctor and the support staff at the hospital undertake for a woman in labor is to monitor her and the fetus. After all, while a woman can communicate her concerns or discomfort, the unborn fetus cannot.
Fetal heart rate monitoring is crucial for a positive outcome during labor if something were to go wrong. Doctors and nurses can intervene in moments when a baby’s heart rate increases or decreases as an indicator of a medical issue. When hospital workers don’t adhere to best practices for monitoring a woman and her fetus, they may fail to act in time to prevent brain damage in an emergency.
Unnecessary or improper interventions
As dangerous as failing to intervene can be, unnecessarily medicalizing the labor process can also be risky for the mother and her child. Doctors often refer to early interventions as having a cascade effect. One intervention often leads to another, ultimately resulting in a cesarean section or surgical delivery.
In some situations, the interventions themselves can cause injury, such as when forceps cause damage to a baby’s eyes or neck. Other times, a doctor chooses an intervention that is not approved for use in labor and delivery, putting mother and child at unnecessary risk.
Parents trying to come to terms with a newborn’s injuries may have to adjust for a lifetime of reduced parental income and increased Family Medical bills. Filing a medical malpractice claim after a preventable birth injury affects your family can be a way to reduce the harm caused by medical mistakes.