Obviously much more work still needs to be done before children are born without preventable injuries that affect their lives. But in recent months more and more attention has been paid to injuries suffered by mothers during childbirth. There is a somewhat mistaken assumption that the risks of mothers suffering serious injury or even death in childbirth is non-existent in the Western world. That could not be further from the truth as many families have discovered first-hand the heartbreak associated with maternal injuries during or after the birth of their child.
Recently, Health News Digest published a story that touched on these issues and the fact that improvement is needed in the area of maternal healthcare. The story is written from the perspective of medical providers, but the arguments made about liability in these cases mirrors that made by legal professionals working on these cases.
Essentially the story trumpets a new study which took a look at liability issues as they relate to maternal care. In other words it includes information on when lawsuits are filed and for what sort of misconduct on the part of medical professionals that harms mothers. The research project was issued by a group known as Childbirth Connection and entitled Maternity Care and Liability: Pressing Problems, Substantive Solutions.
Interestingly, even though the story is written from the perspective of medical providers, the arguments advanced are similar to those shared by our birth injury attorneys. For example, the study found that liability premiums are a relatively small component of practice expenses. This flies in the face of arguments made by certain groups which suggest that there is some mass financial problem caused by doctors being held liable following these errors. Similarly, defensive medicine was not found to be a problem. Tort reform proponents often claim that lawsuits run amok lead to costly defensive medicine. Besides misplacing the problem on injury victims, as this report argues, it is not even an accurate reflection of the practical care provided.
In addition, the study took a look at tort reform efforts that have passed to gauge their effect on medical care and liability. They found that the reform efforts have little impact on improving maternal care. In addition, the report admitted that the significant majority of claims are caused by actual substandard care. Assumptions about widespread frivolous lawsuits are now not even defended by serious industry groups.
The report goes on to explain how serious studies have found that only 2% of patients injured during childbirth ever file a legal claim. In other words, there are many more harmed patients than there are lawsuits. In explaining the reality, one study author explained, “We found that in the practice of an average obstetrician-gynecologist, negligent injury of mothers and newborns appears to occur more frequently than any claim and far more frequently than any payout or trial.”
Our Chicago birth injury lawyers hope industry professionals take these issues to heart, and focus on improving maternal care. In addition, we urge all mothers who may have been harmed during birth to contact our legal professional for guidance on how the law applies in these cases.
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