According to studies, the higher amount of birth injuries may be due to the way which military hospitals handle their patients. For instance, in October of 2010, Jessica Zeppa, a wife of a soldier who was five months pregnant, was admitted to Oklahoma’s Reynolds Army Community Hospital, with a high severe and difficulties in swallowing. She was scheduled an appointment for a wisdom tooth extraction and sent home without her files being viewed.
The next day, however, Zeppa was taken to a civilian hospital by ambulance, where she suffered a miscarriage at five months, despite strong efforts to save the baby. According to medical experts, both Zeppa and her baby would have been fine had she been given treatment when she initially went into Reynolds.
To make matters worse, there was no inquiry or investigation into what happened to Zeppa.
In addition, from 2001 through 2013, there were 239 unexpected deaths reported in military hospitals, yet only 100 were sent to to the Pentagon safety center for investigation. Over 50,000 infants are born in military hospitals annually, and not only are these babies twice as likely to suffer from birth injuries when compared to other national hospitals, but mothers are more likely to suffer from injuries as well. The most common injuries mothers endure is hemorrhaging right after childbirth, according to recent statistics.
Yet, officials from the Defense Department claim that their hospitals are among the best, and the care provided is just as good as, maybe even better, than civilian hospitals. They do admit that their patient isn’t perfect, yet state they are striving each day evolve more.
“We strive to be a perfect system, but we are not a perfect system, and we know it. We must learn from our mistakes and take corrective actions to prevent them from reoccurring,” said assistant secretary of defense for health affairs, Dr. Jonathan Woodson.
While errors that could have been avoided do happen in every type of hospital, it’s the rate and the consistency of these errors in military hospitals that are setting them apart. Although the military hospitals have “patient safety” programs, many of the medical mistakes made are what the program was designed to eliminate.
One the most common mistakes made is miscommunication and not reading patient files correctly. In fact, in one instance, miscommunication resulted in an unborn, viable infant dying after a physician operated on the wrong part of a mother’s body.
In other instance, fetal distress went undetected in Katie Gull’s son, resulting in permanent injuries for the boy, who is now 5-years-old. He cannot walk, crawl, swallow, or speak. Meal times consists of feeding him through a pump.