Cleveland Birth Injury Attorneys Uncover the Truth in Negligence Claims
During many births, communication errors are the reason that serious complications occur
The birth of a child should be an exciting, happy event that is celebrated by family and friends. Sadly, in some cases, a baby’s birth is overshadowed by serious complications. Close to one third of these complications are entirely preventable. In one study, a breakdown in communication between members of the birthing team was the most commonly cited reason for birth injuries. At The Eisen Law Firm, our Ohio birth injury attorneys know how to pinpoint medical errors and establish how they could have been avoided.
Common causes of preventable birth injuries
The five most common causes of preventable birth injuries are:
- Delayed Caesarean section
- Improper resuscitation
- The improper use of labor-inducing drugs (such as Pitocin) or the overuse of these substances
- The unnecessary use of forceps or vacuum extraction
- Failure to detect signs of fetal distress
In 2008, the Premier Perinatal Safety Initiative was launched. It aimed to improve childbirth safety. Fourteen hospitals across twelve states participated. Over the course of five years, the births of over 250,000 babies were tracked. At the end of the initiative, birth injury claims decreased by 39 percent. Specifically, issues involving a lack of oxygen decreased by 25 percent; anesthesia complications were reduced by 15 percent; and postpartum hemorrhage incidents fell by 5.4 percent.
One of the key components of the Initiative that led to increased childbirth safety was concentrated training in teamwork and effective communication.
How do miscommunications occur?
The medical care of a laboring woman and her baby depends on numerous medical providers. Doctors, nurses, anesthesiologists, and other hospital staff must make sure they all understand the mother’s medical and obstetrical history and the current state of health for both the mother and the baby before making any medical decisions.
One common source of communication error is poor medical record documentation. Each medical provider must update a baby’s chart correctly after that provider administers medication, completes a procedure, or simply checks on the baby. These medical records will be reviewed and relied upon by other medical professionals before additional care is provided, so it is essential that these records are accurate. Medical records are used to order x-rays, medications, scans, and lab tests as well. Incorrect information on a medical record could lead to the wrong order being placed or the wrong treatment being instituted.
During a birth, it is the responsibility of each medical professional to carefully monitor the mother and baby to look for signs of distress. If a medical professional notices an issue but does not report it to the other medical staff members, a serious issue may develop if the medical team does not act quickly. One common example is when obstetrical nurses notice that fetal monitor strips show signs of fetal distress but fail to call the obstetrician with their findings. As a result, the fetus may be deprived of oxygen for several minutes (or longer) and may suffer severe brain damage.
Proving a communication error
Proving a communication error occurred during labor or delivery may be difficult. Medical negligence attorneys must carefully examine medical records, eyewitness accounts, and other types of evidence to determine if a breakdown in communication caused a baby’s injury. For example, a medical negligence attorney may notice that medications that interact with each other were given to the baby, but the medications were not properly noted on the chart. In addition, the parents or other family members may recall statements the medical professionals made before, during, or after the birth that reflect the fact that a miscommunication caused a particular injury.
Was your baby injured during birth? If so, contact our dedicated Ohio birth injury attorneys for compassionate legal guidance
If your baby was injured during birth, it may be due to a communication or other error. The birth injury attorneys at The Eisen Law Firm understand how to interpret medical charts, medical records, and other evidence to establish a medical professional’s negligence. To schedule a free consultation with our attorneys, call 216-687-0900 or contact us online today.