A mother holding her pregnant belly.

What is Birth-Related Medical Malpractice?

Birth-Related Medical Malpractice

Birth-related medical malpractice is any medical error or negligence resulting in injury to the mother or baby during pregnancy, childbirth, or postpartum.

When thinking about birth-related medical professionals or fields, people often think “OB/GYN.” OB/GYN, or obstetrics/gynecology, actually refers to two distinct fields:

  • Obstetrics (OB) is medical care during pre-conception, pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum.
  • Gynecology (GYN) is the medical care of all women’s health issues.

While no mother or family should have to consider the “What Ifs?” of things going wrong, understanding what can and does go wrong will help to equip patients and their families with knowledge of the risks their loved ones are facing throughout their pregnancy and birthing journey.

Coverys, a medical professional liability insurer, publishes reports on various medical malpractice trends and statistics. We have compiled the highlights from Coverys’ OB Report that you should know:

Statistics

The numbers behind medical malpractice trends:

  • OB allegations are the fifth most common medical malpractice claim by department.
  • 40% of OB allegations are related to negligence during labor management.
  • 52% of OB allegations were related to vaginal deliveries, while 42% were related to cesarean sections (C-sections).
  • 80% of OB claims are high-severity, with one in four claims resulting in the death of the mother or baby.

Maternal and Fetal Injuries

Maternal injuries are less common than fetal injuries, as fetal injuries occur at seven times the rate that maternal injuries do. Here are the top maternal and fetal injuries:

Top 5 Maternal Injuries

The top five maternal injuries are as follows:

  • Infertility - 29%
  • Preeclampsia - 23%
  • Death - 16%
  • Bladder/Bowel Injury - 14%
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage - 14%

Top 5 Fetal Injuries

The top five fetal injuries are as follows:

  • Neurological/Brain Injury - 41%
  • Shoulder Dystocia/Brachial Plexus Injury - 37%
  • Fetal Demise (Including Stillbirth) - 34%
  • Congenital/Genetic - 3%
  • Chorioamnionitis - 2%

What Causes Birth-Related Medical Malpractice?

Clinical judgment was cited as the cause for an allegation in over 50% of OB claims, for various reasons, with the top four being:

  • Inappropriate management of labor and delivery - 37%
  • Inappropriate management of pregnancy - 14%
  • Negligent patient monitoring - 12%
  • Delay in performing cesarean section - 11%

Additional causes for allegation are as follows:

  • Communication - 13%
  • Documentation - 8%
  • Technical Skill - 7%
  • Human Factors - 6%
  • Clinical Systems - 5%
  • Administrative Factors - 5%
  • Behavior-Related Factors - 3%

Related Reading: 4 Frequently Filed Medical Malpractice Lawsuits

Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Chicago

Medical malpractice, by definition, is preventable. If you or your loved one have suffered an injury as the result of a trusted medical provider’s error or negligence, it is essential that you have an experienced medical malpractice attorney on your side. Medical malpractice is often emotionally overwhelming and complex. Let our team at Angelini, Ori & Abate Law handle your case so that you and your loved ones can focus on healing during this difficult time.

The attorneys at Angelini, Ori & Abate Law have never lost a medical malpractice case that they have accepted, and we do not charge our clients unless recovery is made.

Call our firm today at (312) 313-8881 for a free consultation or fill out our secure online contact form.