According to a new study published by the British Medical Journal, researchers from the UK found that more than one out of every 10 patients are harmed by a medical mistake, and that one in 20 patients are impacted by a preventable medical mistake. Researchers analyzed 70 different studies including over 300,000 patients whose records indicated an injury incurred in a healthcare setting that was unrelated to their prior medical conditions. Of the injuries reported, 12% were considered severe—i.e. the patient was permanently disabled or died as a result of treatment.
Each year, approximately 700 women die of pregnancy-related complications in the United States. In fact, a 2018 investigation undertaken by USA Today revealed that more women are dying due to childbirth complications in the United States than any other country in the developed world. This is particularly troubling, considering the leading causes of maternal death are preventable: postpartum hemorrhage (bleeding) and preeclampsia (a condition characterized by high blood pressure during pregnancy).
The investigation suggests that hypertension—dangerously high blood pressure that can lead to preeclampsia—is a leading cause of mothers dying and suffering strokes. As many as 60% of maternal deaths could have been prevented if the mother had been given proper care and treatment for high blood pressure.
Similarly, hemorrhage is a leading cause of mothers dying and suffering life-threatening injuries. Extreme blood loss, whether during delivery or bleeding internally, can be the result of a medical mistake. In fact, as many as 93% of maternal deaths caused by hemorrhaging could have been prevented, according to the investigation.
Preventable medical mistakes can significantly impact infants, as well, sometimes leading to permanent, life-altering injuries or even death. For example, failure to correctly interpret a fetal heart monitoring strip can cause a baby to suffer irreversible brain damage, potentially leading to conditions such as cerebral palsy. Improper use of vacuum or forceps during delivery may cause fetal skull fractures. Excessive manipulation during delivery causing an infant’s brachial plexus nerves to stretch or tear may lead to a brachial plexus injury or Erb’s Palsy. Tragically, an infant’s wrongful death may be caused by preventable medical mistakes, such as failure to diagnose and respond to fetal distress, failure to perform a caesarian section when necessary, failure to provide proper resuscitation after a traumatic birth, or failure to provide head or body cooling, to name a few.
If a loved one died or you or your child suffered an injury as a result of medical negligence during pregnancy, labor or delivery, or the postpartum period, please contact us at 877-262-9767 for a free consultation.
The following reviews from our clients do not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of another legal matter. The cases mentioned in the reviews are illustrative of some of the matters previously handled by Grant & Eisenhofer involving various areas of birth injury law. These reviews are endorsements.