Your Guide to Birth-Related Malpractice

Man holding hand of a woman giving birth in the hospital.

Birth-related medical malpractice claims are arguably some of the most devastating and are the fifth most common medical malpractice claim type. This blog will highlight important risk trends identified in Coverys’ OB report:

Birth-Related Malpractice Trends

The Prevalence of Birth-Related Malpractice

Birth-related or obstetric malpractice is the fifth most common type of malpractice by hospital departments. While only the fifth most common type of malpractice, birth-related malpractice has one of the highest severity rates; 80% of birth-related malpractice allegations are high severity, meaning that either the mother, infant, or both suffered from permanent injury or death. Furthermore, 77.3% of doctors who are fellows of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists report being sued.

Top Consequences of Birth-Related Malpractice

Maternal Injuries

The most common maternal injuries are as follows:

  • Infertility - 29%
  • Preeclampsia - 23%
  • Death - 16%
  • Bladder/Bowel Injury - 14%
  • Postpartum Hemorrhage - 14%
  • Perineal Injury - 12%
  • Abscess - 11%
  • Hydrosalpinx - 11%
  • Neurological/Brain Damage - 9%
  • Retained Products/Objects - 9%
  • Liver/Renal Failure - 9%

Fetal Injuries

The most common fetal injuries are as follows:

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

Trends in Birth-Related Allegations

Top 5 Allegations

The top five birth-related allegations are as follows:

  1. Management of Labor - 37.0%
  2. Performance of Delivery - 29.1%
  3. Management of Pregnancy - 23.6%
  4. Postpartum Management/Complications - 6.6%
  5. Delivery Method Choice - 3.7%

Allegations by Delivery Method

Most allegations involved one of the three following methods of delivery:

  1. Vagnial Delivery - 52%
  2. Cesarean Section Delivery - 45%
  3. Emergency Cesarean Section Delivery - 15%

Top Birth-Related Comorbidities

58% of birth-related allegations involved patients with at least one comorbidity. The ten most common comorbidities are as follows:

  1. Diabetes - 11%
  2. Obesity - 11%
  3. Hypertension - 8%
  4. Post 40-Week Gestation - 7%
  5. Macrosomia - 7%
  6. Gestational Diabetes - 7%
  7. Preeclampsia - 6%
  8. Smoking - 6%
  9. Premature Rupture of Membranes (PROM) - 6%
  10. Advanced Maternal Age - 3%

What Causes Birth-Related Malpractice?

The five most commonly cited causes for Birth-Related allegations are as follows:

  1. Clinical Judgment - 53%
  2. Communication - 13%
  3. Documentation - 8%
  4. Technical Skill - 7%
  5. Human Factors - 6%

Related Reading

What is Medical Malpractice?

Your Guide to Medical Malpractice

What is Discriminatory Care?

Medical Malpractice Attorneys in New Mexico

It is important to have an experienced birth injury attorney on your side if you or a loved one suffered a birth-related injury as the result of a medical professional’s error or negligence. At Curtis & Co., we have been helping families obtain justice following injuries and fatalities for decades.

We handle complex cases on behalf of people throughout New Mexico and are prepared to fully explain your legal rights and options during a complimentary case review.

Call (505) 871-3740 or contact us online today to learn more. Hablamos español.

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