If you have ever been pregnant, or even considered the notion, you know just how many questions and concerns there are about your health, the pregnancy, and labor and delivery. When those questions and concerns are not addressed you may find yourself asking, can doctor silence during pregnancy and childbirth cause birth injuries?
Doctors are required to provide pregnant women with information about their health and their individual pregnancy and childbirth plans. Doctors are also required by law to provide adequate information and warning about the dangers of cesarean sections (c-section), birth defects, genetic disorders, and other health risks. Unfortunately, there is a serious problem plaguing the healthcare industry in the fact that most women are not warned about the risk of birth injuries to their own bodies.
The Dangers of Doctor Silence
There are serious problems with the current lack of frankness among obstetricians and gynecologists about the risk of birth injuries. Some of the most concerning problems include:
- Women who do not have all the facts about their health and risk factors are less likely to recognize the signs of danger and get adequate treatment.
- Women who are not warned of potential risks during pregnancy or childbirth may not have the opportunity to be actively involved in changing plans for labor and delivery.
- When women are uninformed and uninvolved in their care, it places the fetus at risk, as well as the mother.
- There is a marked disconnect between the goings on in the delivery room, the goings on in recovery, and follow up care after the mother has been released from the hospital.
Doctors who do not uphold their legal requirement to warn pregnant women of the risk of birth injuries and complications, or who fail to address symptoms and administer treatment in a timely manner are putting the lives of mother and child at risk. They also may be violating the mother’s legal rights by providing negligent or substandard healthcare.
If you have been injured due to medical malpractice, negligence, or substandard medical care, contact Brown Wharton & Brothers to learn more about your legal rights, and your options to pursue justice for your family.
What Doctors Fail to Say
Doctors have ample time to discuss pregnancy, risk factors, dangers, and options for ensuring a safe and healthy pregnancy and childbirth experience. Most doctors do provide routine information as the pregnancy progresses, but a large number of doctors fail to really address specific dangers to the mother’s body associated with childbirth. Consider the following:
- In 2015, researchers in Canada found that half of all new mothers surveyed experienced urinary incontinence up to one year following birth. Three-quarters of those new mothers suffered from residual back pain.
- In 2008, researchers in California discovered that 1 in 3 women suffer from pelvic floor disorder. Of those, 80 percent of sufferers are mothers, and women who gave birth vaginally are twice as likely to develop the condition. Further, an estimated 1 in 10 women have the disorder severely enough to warrant surgical intervention.
- Women who give birth vaginally are three times more likely to develop urinary incontinence requiring surgical intervention than those who have c-sections. Most women are only warned of minor, short-term incontinence, and are not warned that one-third of all women experience incontinence at some point in their lives.
- Pelvic organ prolapse, a painful condition affecting the uterus and/or bladder, occurs in approximately 4 percent of women who have given birth vaginally, as opposed to only 2 percent of women who had c-sections. Most women in their childbearing years are never warned about the possibility of developing this condition later in life.
- Around 50 to 80 percent of all women who give birth experience some tearing to pelvic muscles and skin. One in 10 of these women experience tears bad enough to damage the sphincter muscle leading to bladder or bowel incontinence.
With research indicating that so many women experience damage to their bodies during childbirth, the issue of doctor silence is one that can no longer be ignored.
Examples of Birth Injuries Induced by Doctor Silence
There are many injuries that can result from a doctor’s failure to inform patients, failure to recognize or treat a condition, failure to order inducement or a c-section if needed, or negligence in preventing injuries. Consider, for example, the story of a 30-year-old woman who addressed a family history of large babies with her doctor, who brushed her concerns aside. When she passed her due date, her doctor advised it was best to let labor occur naturally, even though the baby was measuring large. At 42 weeks, the doctor finally administered Pitocin and induced labor, assuring the mother than everything would be fine.
Everything was not fine. The doctor pressed forward with a vaginal delivery, which resulted in a 30-hour long labor process with an hour of pushing. During labor, the baby became distressed, with decelerating heart rate, but a c-section was never ordered. The baby was born weighing 9.6 pounds and was healthy. The mother, however, was seriously injured by the traumatic process. She suffered three deep tears in her vaginal wall, and her labia were 50 times the normal size. Shortly after birth, she was diagnosed with a postpartum hemorrhage caused by pelvic stress during labor. It took over nine months for her body to heal from the damage caused by childbirth.
Following the horrific injuries, the mother stated that she felt lied to about the labor and delivery process. She had not been warned about the dangers to her body, which took a physical and emotional toll on her life. This is a sentiment often reiterated by mothers who have experienced a traumatic birth, have birth injuries, or who are concerned about medical negligence.
Breaking The Silence
Not only is there a lack of frankness among doctors, but there is also a lack of postpartum care for women who have been injured during childbirth. It is crucial for women to heal, both physically and emotionally, following childbirth, and doctors need to be the catalyst for that happening.
What may be classified as “routine” or “normal” for one person may not be so for another, so it is important for women to get the proper healthcare they and their families need. Women with birth injuries caused by medical malpractice or negligence, failure to recognize or diagnose complications, delayed birth, or failure to administer treatment or interventions should stand up for their rights and break the silence.
Contact Brown Wharton & Brothers to learn more about how you can break the silence in your own birth injury case. Let our skilled attorneys guide you in exploring your legal rights and determining the best options for you and your family. Fill out the form on your screen to schedule your no-obligation case review today.