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Physicians push procedures despite risk of birth injuries

Every expecting parent's greatest fear is that an unexpected complication will compromise the health and wellbeing of their child. While medical and technological advancements have greatly reduced such occurrences, complications continue to occur at unacceptable rates. For instance, labor errors and delivery errors continue to threaten U.S. newborns. Often, such birth injuries can occur as a result of unnecessary and invasive procedures.

Maryland readers may be interested to learn that pregnant women often undergo dangerous and unnecessary medical procedures such as induced labor and cesarean sections without being fully apprised of the risks involved. Further, a recent survey suggests that too often such procedures are not necessary at all. Making matters worse, many of the women in the study expressed feeling pressured by their health care providers to undergo these procedures.

One particularly alarming trend involves pregnant women who have previously undergone C-sections. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Guidelines, women who have previously undergone C-sections should in fact have vaginal births for their subsequent pregnancies. Despite this, the study showed that nearly half of the women surveyed that had previously had C-sections not only had subsequent C-sections, but were denied the option of a vaginal birth.

This dangerous trend among obstetricians and gynecologists, and the apparent chasm that exists between patient safety and practitioner knowledge, is alarming. If a baby is injured by a delivery error because a trusted medical professional pressured the mother into an unnecessary and dangerous medical procedure, that mother may be entitled to significant compensation. Medical errors due to physician negligence or improper training are legally actionable medical malpractice claims.

Source: Consumer Reports, "Pregnant? Watch out for unnecessary c-sections and other questionable medical procedures," Joel Keehn, May 8, 2013

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