Communication Errors Causing Birth Injuries
Birth injuries are frequently caused by a breakdown in communication between health care providers. The team of medical professionals who all play a role in the pregnancy, labor and delivery process includes obstetricians, obstetrical nurses, anesthesiologists, and even staff (secretaries and receptionists) of the obstetrician’s office.
There are very strict rules about documenting a patient’s medical condition. All medical providers must take care to properly update, store and maintain their patients’ medical records. The information in those records is used by these and other medical providers to remember what they did before, what the patient’s condition is, and to understand the patient’s history. When information is not properly recorded, patients may lose valuable time as medical providers attempt to reconstruct a proper history.
Medical records are also used to place orders. Physicians input specific orders for medication, radiological scans, laboratory tests and diagnostic testing . If those orders are incorrectly recorded, hard to read, or missing, then injury can occur. For example, patients may receive improper amounts of medication, or may miss time-sensitive ultrasounds.
Another common error caused by failures in communication is diagnostic malpractice. Every lab test and radiological scan is ordered for a reason—to determine a patient’s condition or possible problems. When those tests are not reported or followed up on, the medical team may miss critical data important to a patient’s treatment.
Labor & Delivery
When delivery occurs at a hospital, the process of labor is largely handled by obstetrical nurses. Those nurses are responsible for monitoring the condition of the mother and child, and reporting any significant changes or worrisome findings to the obstetrician. They are the first responders who respond to complaints by the mother, examine the electronic fetal monitor tracings, record vital signs, and evaluate the ongoing condition of the baby.
If the obstetrical nurse does not carefully monitor and report the condition of the mother and baby, the obstetrician may not have the opportunity to determine whether emergency action, such as a cesarean section, is required. Any delays can lead to serious and lifelong injuries, like cerebral palsy.
If your child was injured and you think that injury may have been caused by medical malpractice, contact our personal injury lawyers at (440) 252-4399.