Medical Malpractice Is The Third Leading Cause Of Death In The U.S. With Surgeries, Misdiagnosis, And Preventable Birth Injuries As The Most Common Causes
A study published by the Journal of the American Medical Association found that medical malpractice is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Each year, about $3 billion is paid out in medical malpractice claims. Surgeries, misdiagnosis, and preventable birth injuries are the most common cases of malpractice in the United States.
A previous report published by the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (H-CUP) found that birth injuries were one of the most common reasons for medical malpractice cases. The report shows that up to 8 children out of every 1,000 born in the Unites States is born with a birth injury. 28,000 children per year are born with birth injuries. Common injuries include Erb’s Palsy, fractures, perinatal asphyxia, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries, and subconjunctival hemorrhaging. More injuries occurred at private hospitals than public, the report showed. [December 2015, forbes.com/sites/learnvest/2013/05/16/10-things-you-want-to-know-about-medical-malpractice/]
The injury rate for instrument-assisted vaginal births is much higher than that of non-instrument-assisted vaginal births. Mothers who give birth without the assistance of tools are 30 percent less likely to be injured that mothers who are assisted with tools during birth (such as forceps assisted deliveries). Trauma can occur to both babies and mothers in tool-assisted births. In cesarean sections, birth injury rates are also high. The older a mother is during the c-section, the more likely it is that she or the baby will be injured during the procedure. Strangely, mothers who had private insurance were more likely to be injured during birth.
The H-CUP report estimates that 50 percent of all birth injuries are preventable with the right diagnosis and care for the baby and mother. The report shows that early identification of potential problem and the planning for obstetrical risk factors work together to reduce the risk of preventable birth injuries and fatalities. The Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 30 percent of all birth injuries could be eliminated with proper communication between hospital staff, mothers, and other caregivers. A 2009 investigation called the Premier Perinatal Safety Initiative (PPSI) found that most preventable birth injuries that led to malpractice cases included:
- Missed signs of fetal distress
- Delayed c-sections
- Improper resuscitation technique
- Misuse of labor-inducing drugs
- Unnecessary use of extraction tools
- Problems with oxygen and anesthesia are also common and can cause preventable birth injuries.
[hcup-us.ahrq.gov/reports/statbriefs/sb74.jsp, December 2015]
Mothers can help reduce their chances of a preventable birth injury by keeping lines of communication open throughout their pregnancies. Communication about risks, birth plans, and pre-existing conditions can go a long way toward reducing injury risk.
If you have been the victim of a preventable birth injury, you may have grounds to file a medical malpractice case for birth injuries. Consult the lawyers at Wright & Schulte LLC today for a free consultation to determine if you are eligible for compensation from medical malpractice and negligence. You may be entitled to compensation that may cover medical bills, lost wages, and other costs associated with the birth injury.