Like all types of medical practice, doctors who practice obstetrics and gynecology (OB-GYN) medicine are capable of making mistakes that can have devastating, long-term effects on their patients. In a recent survey, 70 percent of OB-GYN specialists reported being sued for malpractice at least once, and 50 percent had been sued more than once. Gynecological malpractice lawyers can identify and recover damages for OB-GYN malpractice. The process can be challenging but is worth the effort when medical errors harm your infant or reduce or eliminate your reproductive capacities.
Many causes = same result
Because OB-GYN doctors treat the entire female reproductive tract, errors can happen at any time, not just during pregnancy or birth. However, the injuries caused during pregnancy and birth make up a significant proportion of OB-GYN malpractice claims. According to legal statistics, the most common OB-GYN mistakes made include:
- Failing to properly manage complications that arise during pregnancies or births. Incorrectly diagnosing or missing the markers that indicate a challenge during pregnancy is one of the most common OB-GYN doctor mistakes. Many adverse health concerns develop during a pregnancy that can affect the lives of both the mother and the fetus. Not recognizing the signs of these challenges or failing to manage them appropriately often is a sign of OB-GYN malpractice.
- Errors made during gynecological surgeries also cause both damages and lawsuits. While tubal ligations (the surgery that severs the fallopian tubes to prevent pregnancies) and Caesarian sections (surgical births) are relatively commonplace, they are both still surgeries and can add complications to an otherwise standard maternity case.
- Injuries caused during birth also generate legal action. Both baby and mother can experience adverse reactions during labor and delivery. Elevated heart rates or blood pressures in either can cause devastating brain injuries or worse.
- Non-pregnancy issues can also lead to litigations. Failing to identify concerns that show up in regular tests such as PAP smears can lead to cancer and other reproductive diseases.
Physician Fear Can Also Cause Mistakes
Unfortunately, the number of OB-GYN errors coupled with an increasingly litigious society drive many practicing OB-GYN’s to change their practice habits to avoid the risk of being sued. In one survey, one in five obstetricians did not inform their patients of their history of malpractice claims, and one in ten had told their patients outright lies about that past. The pressure exerted by the threat of litigation has caused many doctors to stop delivering babies, which has reduced the number of OB-GYN’s available to perform that vital service.
In our next post, we will discuss further when and why you should consider filing an OB-GYN negligence lawsuit.