5 Common Medical Errors By OBGYN Doctors
March 10, 2020 Published in Medical Malpractice
Nobody should ever have to worry about being harmed due to a medical mistake made by an obstetrician/gynecologist (OBGYN). However, medical mistakes are not uncommon in the United States, particularly by OBGYNs. A study mentioned by the American Medical Association (AMA) shows that OBGYNs and general surgeons are at greatest risk of facing medical malpractice lawsuits. The study cited shows that surgeons and OBGYNs are three-and-a-half to four times as likely to be sued than psychiatrists and pediatricians (they faced the lowest risks of medical malpractice lawsuits).
5 types of OBGYN medical malpractice
There are various ways that an OBGYN can create serious medical problems for a mother or a child. Complications that arise during regular screenings, pregnancy, or birth can be devastating for families.
1. Misdiagnosis regarding pregnancy
OBGYNs have an incredibly important job when it comes to recognizing important pregnancy markers and performing all recommended tests during pregnancy. Failing to do so could result in an incorrect diagnosis or a failure to treat a mother or child, leading to serious injury or death.
2. Non-pregnancy related misdiagnosis
Not all OBGYN patients are pregnant, as many women make a point to regularly see their OBGYN, similar to the way they see their primary care physician. The gynecological side of OBGYN handles the health of a woman and the health of her reproductive system. Women are susceptible to certain types of reproductive cancers and other health issues related to their reproductive organs. If any of these illnesses go untreated or undiagnosed, serious health issues can arise.
3. Pregnancy surgical errors
There are various types of surgeries related to pregnancies, including caesarean sections (C-sections) and tubal ligation (getting tubes tied). In general, these procedures are seen as routine. However, as with any routine surgery, there are risks. If a surgeon makes a mistake while operating on a pregnant mother or during the birthing process, serious injury or wrongful death could occur to the mother, child, or both.
4. Birth injury
During labor, both the mother and child require close and continual monitoring. An OBGYN must be especially diligent in monitoring the oxygen levels and heartbeat of an unborn child. Any birth injuries can lead to severe brain damage or other physical injury that could lead to the child requiring specialized care for their entire life. Some of the most common mistakes that can occur during birth can include the misuse of forceps while delivering a child as well as a failure to identify complications with the umbilical cord (this can lead to a deprivation of oxygen to the child).
5. Mistakes with medicines
An overwhelming number of patients experience errors with their medication. This can include a patient not receiving the correct medication, receiving the wrong dosage of their medication, or even not receiving their medication at all. When a medication error is made by a healthcare professional, a pregnant woman and her child can both sustain serious injuries. OBGYNs must be aware of their patient’s complete medical history before prescribing medication and should continually monitor their patient after prescribing any new medications.
OBGYNs are also responsible for a woman’s birth control options, including medications and intrauterine devices. Proper prescription and use of these medications are vital for a woman’s health, and any mistakes made by an OBGYN can lead to damage to a woman’s reproductive organs or her overall health.