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Joint Commission Offers New Guidelines to Prevent Newborn Drops and Falls

New guidelines from the Joint Commission hope to prevent newborn drops and falls

One of the most exciting and wonderful times in a parent’s life should be the birth of a newborn. Unfortunately, sometimes medical professionals act negligently while caring for mothers and their newborns, causing substantial harm and trauma.

In the United States, between 600 and 1600 newborns are dropped in hospitals every year. The AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) defines a newborn drop as “a fall in which a baby being held or carried by a health care professional, parent, family member, or visitor falls or slips from that person’s hands, arms, laps, etc. The fall is counted whether or not the fall resulted in an injury.”

Inpatient fall prevention is an issue that is taken very seriously in the medical field, especially in elderly patients or patients who are recovering from surgical procedures. Comparatively little attention is given, however, to fall prevention for newborns. Recently, the Joint Commission has offered new safety protocols to follow to prevent these hospital errors and to increase patient safety.

Newly-issued safety protocols focus on preventing drops caused by exhausted mothers

While the birth of a child is always incredibly exciting, it can be incredibly draining as well. Mothers of newborns, already exhausted from giving birth, can be put on pain medications that make them feel even more tired. In addition, breastfeeding releases oxytocin from the pituitary gland of the mother, a hormone that allows for milk ejection while at the same time causing drowsiness. These factors can lead to tragic situations where newborns are mishandled or dropped by their mothers.

Newborns can also be dropped by doctors and nurses. Sometimes this is the result of exhausted caregivers. Sometimes it is plain carelessness. Drops can happen right after birth, and they can happen during transfers of the baby from mom to a caregiver or between caregivers in the newborn nursery.

The Joint Commission’s new safety protocols focus mainly on educating mothers on the risks of handling newborns while exhausted and encouraging them to request assistance when feeling drowsy. The Joint Commission recommends spreading this information both verbally and through signage in the delivery room.

Recently, The Eisen Law Firm settled a case where a newborn was dropped during a routine exchange between a nurse and a doctor. The injuries stemming from this drop included massive brain bleeding and permanent neurological deficits that will require millions of dollars’ worth of care for a child that otherwise would have been perfectly healthy.

If your newborn was injured as a result of a drop or fall, we can help.

Our Ohio medical malpractice attorneys here at the Eisen Law Firm are committed to holding doctors and hospitals accountable for all malpractice injuries, including those sustained as a result of a drop or fall. If your newborn child was injured, contact us for a free consultation by calling 216-687-0900 or reaching out to us online.