The causes and implications of obstetric malpractice

  • Abstract
  • Keywords
  • References
  • PDF
  • Abstract

    Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O & G) are among the specialties at high risk of malpractice claims. In particular, obstetric malpractice attracts high incidence of claims as birth injuries are usually serious and devastating. The resulting disabilities and malformation from the injuries tend to be life-long and victims are deprived of years of enjoyment in life, independence and productivity. As these injuries occur on the victims early in life, the costs of medical care are usually enormous. As this imposes stressful and heavy burden on the family members, they tend to resort to litigation as means of procuring monetary compensation. The highest numbers of medical negligence cases in Malaysia involve obstetric injuries and six to seven-figure court awards are now becoming the trend for compensating obstetric malpractice victims. However, proving obstetric malpractice is not an easy task with years of litigation, which eventually may not provide victims with monetary compensation if unsuccessful. Further, the increase in obstetric litigation has triggered higher premium for medical indemnity insurance causing many doctors to leave the subspecialty. Even though the doctor at the end may not be found guilty but the trauma of being sued caused them to suffer difficulties in returning to their work.

  • Keywords

    Obstetric Malpractice; Causes; Implications; Compensation; Litigation Problems.

  • References

      [1] Association of American Medical Colleges. Obstetrics and Gynecology: Overview.

      [2] Chandraharan E,Arulkumaran S. Medico-legal problems in obstetrics. Current Obstetrics & Gynaecology 2006; 16:206–210.

      [3] Franklin WP, Williamson WW. Bad Baby Lawsuits: Defending Brain-Damaged-Infant Claims. The Brief 1993; 22: 55-64.

      [4] CRICO Strategies. Annual Benchmarking Report: Malpractice Risks in Obstetrics, 2010, Cambridge.

      [5] The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Medical Liability Climate Hurts Patients and Ob-Gyns: Survey Reveals Continuing Trend. ACOG News Release 2012, September 5.

      [6] Seattle Children's Hospital Research Foundation. Airway, Breathing and Lung Conditions: Birth Asphyxia.

      [7] Jasper P, Arulkumaran S. Perinatal Asphyxia: An Overview. In: Arulkumaran S, Jenkins HML, Editors. Perinatal Asphyxia. Chennai, India: Orient Longman Ltd; 2000, 1-20.

      [8] Hankins DV, Koen S, Gei AF, Lopez SM, Van Hook JW, Anderson GD. Neonatal organ system injury in acute birth asphyxia sufficient to result in neonatal encephalopathy. Obstet Gynecol 2002; 99: 688-691.

      [9] Spector JM, Daga S. Preventing those so-called stillbirth. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2008; 86, 4: 241-320.

      [10] Leigh S, Granby P, Turner M, Wieteska S, Haycox A, Collins B. The incidence and implications of cerebral palsy following potentially avoidable obstetric complications: a preliminary burden of disease study. BJOG 2014; 121: 1720–1728.

      [11] Cavanaugh MA. Bad cures for bad babies: policy challenges to the statutory removal of the common law claim for birth-related neurological injuries. Case Western Reserve Law Review 1993; 43, 4: 1299.

      [12] Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Shoulder Dystocia. RCOG Green-top Guideline No. 42, 2012.

      [13] Lerner H. Shoulder dystocia: facts, evidence, and conclusions. Shoulder Dystocia Info, 2004.

      [14] Duff DG. Compensation for neurologically impaired infants: medical no-fault in Virginia. Harvard Journal on Legislation 1990; 27, 2: 391-452, at p. 394.

      [15] Talic A, Honemeyer U. Cerebral Palsy: state of art. Donald School Journal of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology 2010; 4, 2: 189-198, at p. 189.

      [16] Gibson CS, Maclennan AH, Goldwater PN, Dekker GA. The antenatal causes of Cerebral Palsy: genetic and viral associations. Fetal and Maternal Medicine Review 2008; 19, 3:181-201, at p. 182.

      [17] National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Cerebral Palsy: hope through research.

      [18] Sieradzki DL. Throwing out the baby with the bathwater: reforming the system for compensation obstetric accidents. Yale Law & Policy Review 1989; 7, 2: 538-566.

      [19] Cavanaugh MA. Bad cures for bad babies: policy challenges to the statutory removal of the common law claim for birth-related neurological injuries. Case Western Reserve Law Review 1993; 43, 4: 1299.

      [20] Minkoff H. Fear of litigation and caesarean section rates. Seminars in Perinatology 2012; 36, 5: 390-4.

      [21] Apfel D. Clinical markers establishing a causal relationship between birth asphyxia and Cerebral Palsy: A primer for trial lawyers. American Journal of Trial Advocacy 1997; 21, 1: 1-66.

      [22] NHS Litigation Authority. Ten years of maternity claims: An analysis of NHS litigation authority data. London, United Kingdom: NHS Litigation Authority; 2012.

      [23] Berglund S, Grunewald C, Pettersson H, Cnattingius S. Severe asphyxia due to delivery-related malpractice in Sweden 1990–2005. An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, 2008; 115: 316–323.

      [24] Moore PJ, Adler NE, Robertson PA. Medical malpractice: the effect of doctor-patient relations on medical patient perceptions and malpractice intentions. Western Journal of Medicine, 2000; 173: 244-250.

      [25] AndersonD, Dumont S, JacobsP, Azzaria L. The personal costs of caring for a child with a disability: A review of the literature. Public Health Reports 2007; 122, 1: 3–16.

      [26] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Economic Costs Associated with Mental Retardation, Cerebral Palsy, Hearing Loss, and Vision Impairment – United States, 2003. The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2004; 53: 57-59.

      [27] Eddy LL, Engel JM. The impact of child disability type on the family. Rehabilitation Nursing, 2008; 33,3: 98-103.

      [28] Reichman NE, Corman H, Noonan K. Impact of Child Disability on the Family. Maternal and Child Health Journal 2008;12, 6: 679-683.

      [29] Sajedi F, Alizad V, Malekkhosravi G, Karimlou M, Vameghi R. Depression in mothers of children with Cerebral Palsy and its relation to severity and type of Cerebral Palsy. Acta Medica Iranica 2010; 48, 4: 250-254.

      [30] Manuel J, Naughton MJ, Balkrishnan R, Smith BP, Koman LA. Stress and adaptation in mothers of children with Cerebral Palsy. Journal of Pediatric Psychology 2003; 28, 3: 197-201.

      [31] Wenstein SL. Medical Liability Reform Crisis 2008. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research 2009; 467, 2: 392–401.

      [32] Bobbitt JD, O'Connor MK, Easley HA. North Carolina's proposed birth-related neurological impairment act: A provocative alternative. Wake Forest Law Review 1991; 26, 4:837-878.

      [33] Klagholz J, Strunk A. Overview of the 2012 ACOG Survey on Professional Liability. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 2012. [34] Kim B. The impact of malpractice risk on the use of obstetrics procedures. Journal of Legal Studies 2007; 36: 79-116.




Article ID: 4697
DOI: 10.14419/ijbas.v4i3.4697

Copyright © 2012-2015 Science Publishing Corporation Inc. All rights reserved.