No one wants any woman or baby to face challenges or setbacks before, during or following birth. However, the grim reality is that it can happen. When it does, people often turn to an obstetrician-gynecologist for answers and liability.
However, the fact is that adverse events can happen throughout the birth process, and the blame is not always on doctors.
Medical liability and OB-GYNs
One article recently discussed the unique challenges those in this field face regarding medical liability. It states that, per a 2018 study, about 66 percent of OB-GYNs have faced legal action at some point in their careers.
While this is a much higher rate than other specialties, it by no means indicates that OB-GYNs make more mistakes.
A large majority of claims are dropped. And defendants prevail in nearly 90 percent of the cases that do go to court.
These statistics can come as some relief to providers, but it is still frustrating to know how often OB-GYNs face legal claims.
What makes OB-GYNs more vulnerable?
Currently, there is a shortage of doctors in obstetrics and gynecology; reports state that about half of U.S. counties lack an OB-GYN. Some reasons behind this include the time it takes to become an obstetrician, the relatively lower payer for these positions and exceedingly high medical malpractice insurance premiums.
Because of these factors, we have fewer doctors doing more work.
Further, there is an incredible burden that can fall on OB-GYNs shoulders, despite the fact that they may have little or no involvement in other factors that contribute to a particular issue.
Unfortunately, too many women do not have access to the early interventions and prenatal care they need. For instance, they may be unable to take work off to go to a doctor’s appointment or they do not have insurance.
In some cases, this can mean OBs who ultimately provide care or deliver a baby do not have a complete and accurate history of the mother’s care or a full knowledge of an unborn child’s condition, which can affect medical decisions.
Protecting against these claims
Any medical professional facing allegations of malpractice has a lot at stake in these cases. Therefore, aggressively defending yourself, your career and your reputation against these claims can be vital.