Previously, we began looking at the topic of medical malpractice in the context of OB-GYN care. As we noted, there are multiple reasons medical malpractice litigation is more common in the field of OB-BYN care. One reason for this is that there are more inherent risks in prenatal care and childbirth. And while not every mistake in care translates into a meritorious medical malpractice claim, the failure of providers and hospitals to satisfactorily communicate with patients often leads to litigation.
Injuries in childbirth can have serious, lifelong effects for mothers, children
Another reason there is more litigation in OB-GYN care is that birth injuries are often catastrophic, and can lead to lifelong care. When a child develops a developmental disability, for instance, the lifetime costs of care and other damages can be significant. Parents faced with such overwhelming expenses often have little choice but to pursue litigation in order to obtain compensation to offset at least some of these costs.
Prenatal care and childbirth certainly can lead to death as well, for both mothers and children. When this occurs, there can be significant losses for surviving family members. Families have the right to recover fair compensation for these losses.
The rate of avoidable OB-GYN errors is relatively high
A third reason for a higher rate of medical malpractice litigation in OB-GYN care is that avoidable errors are actually relatively common in this field. Avoidable errors are estimated to occur in about one percent of births annually. This doesn’t mean that women in all cases end up suing. Far from it, in fact. Only around two percent of them choose to sue. There are both legal and practical reasons for this.
The opportunity to pursue medical malpractice litigation is important, of course, when it makes sense to do so. For one thing, trial provides medical malpractice victims the opportunity to obtain information providers often will not willingly turn over. Unless a lawsuit is filed, hospitals have no legal obligation to share the records patients need to discover the existence of medical malpractice. There is also, of course, the opportunity to obtain fair compensation for injuries.
Those who have been harmed by a negligent physician, whether in the context of prenatal care and childbirth or in any other aspect of health care, should work with an experienced attorney to ensure their rights and interests are fully protected.