Monitoring Fetal Heart Rates Could be Key to Childbirth Injury Prevention
According to a recent article from BBC News, the failure to monitor fetal heart rates during labor may be one of the primary causes of certain types of preventable childbirth injuries. A recent study conducted in the UK examined childbirth fatalities and serious injuries affecting a baby. It was part of a study conducted by Each Baby Counts through the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.
Here is the key outcome of the study: For babies that sustained a severe or deadly injury during childbirth, about 75% “may have had a different outcome had they received different care.” In other words, the quality of the healthcare a mother and baby receive during childbirth matters significantly, and childbirth injuries and deaths may be avoidable if medical negligence or medical mistakes do not occur.
Here are some of the findings from the study, which analyzed more than 1,100 stillbirths, neonatal deaths, and newborn brain injuries:
- 126 stillborn babies;
- 156 babies suffered injuries during childbirth that resulted in death within seven days;
- 854 babies sustained a severe brain injury that could have the possibility of resulting in long-term disability.
One of the major issues the researchers identified was a difficulty for healthcare providers to accurately interpret baby heart-rate patterns. To reduce the greatest number of injuries, the researchers suggested improvements of fetal heart-rate monitoring and better training about how to interpret fetal heart-rate patterns. The researchers indicated the fact that if mistakes were not made in these instances, hundreds of childbirth injuries could have been avoided.
Childbirth Injuries: Facts and Figures
According to a report from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), about 4.3 million childbirths occur each year in U.S. hospitals, and many preventable injuries happen. Some of the most common types of childbirth injuries include:
- Newborn’s broken collarbone;
- Infection in the newborn; and
- Traumatic brain injury in the newborn.
How many childbirth injuries occur every year? The report lists that number at nearly 158,000, and all of them were potentially avoidable. Hopefully, with increased awareness of how to prevent birth injuries, the number of children suffering these injuries will decrease. In the meantime, there are still too many instances of childbirth injuries in the US and throughout the world. In the event that your child suffered a birth-related injury, contact an experienced childbirth injury lawyer to discuss your situation.