Birth injuries occur due to various causes. Some birth injuries are completely unavoidable, but others, approximately 33 percent, happen due to hospital or medical staff negligence or mistakes. While it is sometimes impossible to avoid certain health conditions of the mother or the fetus, unless they are due to a misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose, other conditions are completely preventable.
The Department of Human Health and Services estimates that the number one cause of brith injuries falls directly on the shoulders of the birthing team. In other words, the attending doctor, nurses and other staff that participate in the birth process are the top cause of the majority of birth injuries. Furthermore, it is often communication issues amongst the team that lead to these injuries.
A range of errors
Communication problems account for a wide range of issues during the birth process. For example, there might be a misunderstanding about a diagnosis or perhaps one of the team members relayed the wrong medication information. Another common communication issue is staff failing to inform the doctor that the baby is showing signs of distress.
Premier Perinatal Safety Initiative (PPSI)
Many hospitals throughout the country have joined the Premier Perinatal Safety Initiative. This program focuses on improving the communication process that takes place in the delivery room. The eventual goal is to limit birth injuries that occur due to error or negligence.
5 failure points
The PPSI provides solutions to the five failure points that often occur during the delivery process. These five points include staff failing to see signs that the baby is in distress, delaying c-sections, not using proper resuscitation procedures, incorrectly using drugs that induce labor and the misuse of forceps or vacuum.
3 ways to keep you and your baby safe
There are three things you can do that can help you and your baby stay safe during the delivery process. The first thing is to choose the right prenatal care provider and delivery location. Ask questions and do research to find out if these providers handle complicated births. Second, do not skimp on your prenatal care. Be proactive and bring up any questions or concerns you have with your doctor. Third, participate in the delivery beyond just giving birth. Ask questions during the process and do not let the staff talk you into anything that you are not comfortable with.
If you are an expectant mother, the above information can help you take steps to limit the chance of your child suffering a birth injury. However, if something does go wrong during delivery due to a mistake or negligence of hospital staff, keep in mind that you have options.