As we have mentioned in other posts on our Chicago medical malpractice law blog, birth injuries have the potential to cause irreparable damage to mothers and their babies. And even when birth injuriesare minor and result in temporary pain and suffering, no mother and no child in Illinois should have to experience injuries during birth as a result of medical malpractice.
Medical professionals and hospitals in Illinois have a duty to provide their patients, including pregnant mothers and unborn babies, with quality medical care. When doctors breach this duty, they put mothers and their unborn babies at risk of suffering injuries. Although doctors and hospitals are responsible for making sure they do not breach their duties when caring for patients, mothers can also take action to make sure their doctors do not deviate from their duties when women are ready to give birth.
According to a study that was released this week by Childbirth Connection, pregnant women don’t always understand that some of the decisions their doctors make when monitoring pregnancies and delivering babies may actually be harmful to mothers and their babies. When women are better informed about the risks of certain procedures, they can be more involved in the decision-making process and possibly prevent their doctors from making decisions that could cause unnecessary harm to pregnant women and their babies.
For the study, researchers surveyed about 2,400 women who had recently given birth. The survey revealed that more than 40 percent of the women had given birth after being induced. Although there are certainly situations in which it is necessary to induce labor, inducing labor when it is not necessary may lead to medication errors or other injuries to babies and their mothers.
The survey also revealed that most women who had to have an episiotomy performed were rarely asked about whether they agreed to have the procedure performed or not. And many women who participated in the survey reported that they refrained from asking questions during labor and birth because they did not want to bother their medical care providers.
Pregnant women need to understand that they have every right to ask their doctors questions. Mothers deserve to know more about the consequences of undergoing certain procedures or using certain medications during labor, and they deserve to have a say in how doctors proceed with their treatment when they are worried about their health or the health of their babies.
Source: ConsumerReports.org, “Pregnant? Watch out for unnecessary c-sections and other questionable medical procedures,” Joel Keehn, May 8, 2013