What to Consider When Choosing a Hospital to Give Birth
Start your selection process early to ensure the best chances of a safe delivery
There were more than 3.9 million births in the U.S. in 2013 alone. That means there’s a baby born about every seven seconds! More than 98 percent of these babies are delivered in a hospital. Deciding where to deliver your baby is a big part of choosing your obstetrician or midwife as well, as doctors and midwives typically have admitting privileges at specific hospitals.
Delivery errors that hurt mom and baby
So, let’s identify some delivery room mistakes we’ve seen that have harmful consequences for moms and babies. Our goal is not to scare you here. We just want you to be aware of the potential hazards so you know what to avoid when reviewing hospitals.
- Monitoring errors
- Caesarean section mistakes
- Delivery tool errors
- Medication mistakes
- Failure to diagnose
- Inappropriate delivery techniques/forced delivery
- Improper epidural
For your health and the health of your newborn, look for a hospital that is highly responsive to the needs of a laboring mother and recognizes the importance of ongoing monitoring, safety concerns and excellent communication between you, the staff and your doctor or midwife. When patient safety is the hospital’s number one priority for everyone involved, these types of errors are far less common.
While researching hospitals, you need measuring tools with which to compare, contrast and analyze. The following are helpful sites and organizations which track and report on this data.
- Leapfrog Hospital Survey – This voluntary survey assesses hospitals in three areas: patient outcome, hospital resources and patient safety leadership and structures.
- Federal Hospital Compare – This consumer-focused government website allows you to compare safety data on recommended patient care.
- Hospital Safety Score – Review how safe a hospital is through this website sponsored by the Leapfrog Group.
- Why Not the Best? – This tool allows you to compare hospitals on a comprehensive range of patient safety factors.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 32.7 percent of the babies born in the U.S. in 2013 were delivered by Cesarean (C-section). And in 2012, 19.8 percent of Ohio deliveries were by C-section. With such a large sampling, your consideration of hospitals for delivery must include a review of each facility’s C-section rates and their associated safety records. Turn to reliable resources to check on this data. Compare each hospital’s C-section rates to the national and state average, and to each other. Also, look specifically at the rates of errors and complications resulting from C-sections at the hospitals you are considering. Don’t forget to ask what the C-section rate is for your own obstetrician.
Hospital Safety Records
The Journal of Patient Safety estimates that up to 440,000 patients die each year as a result of preventable mistakes, making medical errors the third leading cause of fatality in the U.S. The CDC reported that 1 out of 25 patients suffer hospital-acquired infections, and about 99,000 of them die each year from their HAI. Therefore, in addition to a hospital’s C-section rates and risks, you want to check on the following important criteria as well.
- Hospital Safety Scorecard
- Hospital acquired infections and hospital-acquired conditions (HAC)
- The hospital’s focus on avoiding errors, injuries, infections and accidents
Give your child the best possible start in life. Choose a hospital that will make you feel safe when it’s time to deliver, through comprehensive analysis and detailed comparisons.
At the Eisen Law Firm, our Ohio birth injury attorneys concentrate exclusively on medical malpractice claims. We’ve been at this for a very long time, and we understand the risks to and safety concerns of mothers for themselves and their babies during labor and delivery. Contact us at 216-687-0900 or online if you believe you have suffered substantial harm at a medical facility.