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Basic safety initiatives greatly reduce tragedies in childbirth

The potential liability for tragic outcomes during delivery causes doctors' liability insurance rates to soar. Fortunately, Florida obstetricians, nurses and future parents can find hope in a Public Citizen Report that relates the impressive results produced as four organizations implemented new childbirth safety initiatives over the course of 15 years. Each organization used similar, basic methods to reduce the prevalence of devastating outcomes during childbirth.

Strategies used included organizing training in communications, reducing the number of risky cesarean section deliveries performed and practicing emergency situations in simulations. As a result, the occurrence of infant brain injury due to oxygen deprivation at the New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center fell to 2 percent of the national average. Premier Inc., a health care alliance with 16 hospitals participating in the safety initiatives, reduced birth trauma by 74 percent among full-term newborns while Hospital Corporation of America cut maternal fatalities caused by pulmonary embolism by 86 percent.

The adoption of the safest and most up-to-date delivery techniques doesn't occur simultaneously across the countless hospitals providing delivery care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has noted a need for the creation of tools that will enable care providers across the country to enact new guidelines that will save lives, prevent tragic injuries and reduce the legal costs associated with childbirth complications. The institutions that participated in the safety initiatives followed by the Public Citizen Report noted litigation savings that greatly exceeded the costs of implementing the new programs.

In a situation in which an infant or mother suffers an injury during childbirth, a lawyer experienced in personal injury law may be able to provide important legal counsel. In the case of negligence or medical malpractice, a lawyer may be able to file a civil claim on behalf of the individual who suffered a death or injury.

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