Birth injuries in Ohio and the rest of the United States are far more common than we would like to believe. Of the 4 million deliveries that occur each year at hospitals throughout the country, roughly 9 percent involve some type of adverse event. What’s more is that about 30 percent of these adverse events are believed to be avoidable.
That’s why the Premier Perinatal Safety Initiative (PDF) was developed as a way to tackle preventable birth injuries. Not only do participating hospitals have an interest in preventing infants and their parents from suffering, they can also work towards avoiding the medical malpractice lawsuits that result from these injuries.
The PDF was launched at 14 hospitals in 2008 and involved a suite of perinatal best practices such as “bundled” care and enhanced communication. Bundled care refers to treatment steps that should be administered together. Poor communication is believed to be the No. 1 cause of preventable birth injuries in the United States, which is why it was made a priority in the PDF.
Simulated drills were used to teach the best practices. In one situation at a participating hospital in Minnesota, a 33-week pregnant nurse played the role of a patient who had a prolapsed umbilical cord, which can be a deadly situation. The very next day, the same nurse went into labor and experienced a prolapsed cord.
Another nurse who participated in the drill the day before said that it had left the staff well-prepared. “If they had not done that the day before, they would not have been as sharp,” she said.
Unfortunately, even with the PDF plan in place, birth injuries were only reduced by about 5.4 percent at participating hospitals, which means that adverse events still occurred in roughly 25 percent of all deliveries. For that reason, medical malpractice lawsuits remain an important remedy in cases where infants suffer birth injuries as a result of hospital or doctor negligence.
Source: Modern Health Care, “Safety initiative seen curbing birth injuries,” Andis Robeznieks, Dec. 4, 2012