Reducing Birth Injuries-Some Hospitals Are Implementing Plans

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has awarded grant funds to help reduce the number of birth injuries by increasing the quality of medical care primarily through better communication among healthcare professionals. Studies have shown that there are five recurring issues which predominate in birth injury cases: failure to initiate a timely Cesarean section; failure to recognize an infant in distress; failure to properly resuscitate a baby; inappropriate use of labor-inducing drugs; and misuse of vacuums and forceps. Injuries happen when delivery teams don’t act quickly enough to deal with sudden unexpected events like shoulder dystocia, which occurs when the baby’s shoulder gets stuck behind the mother’s pubic bone. This can lead to muscle palsy and neurological injuries to the infant and physical trauma for the mother.
These are preventable issues which dramatically increase the instances of birth injuries. According to a Wall St. Journal article, “According to the latest data from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, nearly 91% of ob/gyns have had at least one liability claim filed against them, and 62% of the total claims were for obstetrics care, involving such cases as neurologically impaired or stillborn infants.”
The new efforts seek to increase communication among the healthcare team as well as implement “care bundles” which have been shown to dramatically reduce birth injuries and instances of medical malpractice.