Obstetric Malpractice

Obstetrical Malpractice occurs when harm is caused to the mother or birthing child due to medical negligence of a medical practitioner anytime from very early in the prenatal course, through labor and delivery.

Obstetric Malpractice can be committed by:

Some of the most common reasons for obstetric malpractice include:

  • A C-section was not planned for, or was not performed at the required time
  • Errors in operative vaginal deliveries; forceps or vacuum is incorrectly used
  • Improper medication prescribed causes damage to the fetus or infant
  • Improper monitoring of the mother’s and/or baby’s condition
  • Delay in treating fetal distress
  • Improper management of pregnancy
  • Improper vaginal delivery
  • Administration failures
  • Errors in judgementLack of effective supervision
  • Miscommunication
  • Poor or inadequate documentation
  • Technical errors
  • Errors in ultrasound diagnosis
  • Antenatal screening and diagnosis errors
  • Shoulder dystocia with injury
  • Vaginal birth after cesarean section

Several medical conditions and even death can be caused by the errors of obstetric malpractice during the childbirth process including:

What causes these errors that lead to medical malpractice cases?

  • Administration failures
  • Errors in judgement
  • Lack of effective supervision
  • Miscommunication
  • Poor or inadequate documentation
  • Technical errors

There are many common defenses medical practitioners can use to avoid obstetrical malpractice.

  • Antenatal Screening and Diagnosis - The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends antenatal screening for chromosomal abnormalities to all pregnancy patients regardless of age. Also, nuchal translucency screening should be offered to most patients during their first trimester. Failure to offer these screenings may provide an opening for a suit.
  • Antepartum Fetal Assessment is an accepted standard of care during high risk pregnancies. Monitors the heart rate, provides ultrasound surveillance, and measures amniotic fluid volumes, Doppler studies, and cordocentesis. If a physician deviates from these guidelines, they are at risk for a suit in the event of an adverse outcome.
  • Attention to labor progress and fetal status including documentation.
  • Recognition of distress when monitoring and appropriate response.
  • Shoulder Dystocia preparedness and assessment. Shoulder dystocia is not common, but the attending medical staff should be able to perform the appropriate maneuvers to avoid fetal injuries. If shoulder dystocia was foreseeable, it should have been discovered ahead of time.
  • Appropriate preparedness when a vaginal birth is attempted after a cesarean section.
  • Appropriate Supervision

If you or a loved one has suffered damages during a pregnancy or childbirth due to the errors of medical professionals, you may have an obstetric medical malpractice case. Contact The Sweeney Law Firm to get answers to your questions and learn your legal rights. There is no cost or obligation for us to evaluate your case. The Sweeney Law Firm works on a contingency fee basis. There is never a fee unless a recovery is made for you.