Report Says U.S. Childbirth Safety Outcomes Dismal

April 22, 2015

Ellis Law Corporation


A safe and uneventful delivery is the goal for all birthing teams, but in some cases, what should be a joyous day turns to tragedy when unforeseen complications arise for both mother and child. During the past few decades, obstetric services in the United States and abroad have vastly improved, thus reducing incidents of preventable trauma and death. But a recent report put out by Public Citizen –a consumer watchdog group – indicates that childbirth safety outcomes here in America are “dismal compared to other wealthy nations.”

The lengthy report outlines a lack of consistent protocols and best practices among obstetrics providers, which are largely to blame for an infant mortality rate that is double that of Italy, Germany and France. Public Citizen calls attention to several hospitals that have adopted new safety initiatives and reduced birth trauma rates, but these facilities are among the minority in our vast health care system.

Here at Ellis Law, our firm has witnessed the heart-wrenching effects of birth injury malpractice through the experiences of our clients, and we believe that more must be done to foster standardized OBGYN practices and reduce preventable maternal and infant injuries. If you reside in the Southern California area and believe you may have a claim for damages, there is no cost to speak with a Los Angeles birth injury lawyer about your options for legal recourse.

For more than twenty years, our attorneys have helped parents on the road to recovery after suffering the unspeakable tragedy of a childbirth gone horribly awry.

Hospital safety initiatives show promise

Statistics show that some 65 percent of birth injuries in the U.S. can be attributed to poor communication amongst attending health care professionals. During the last 15 years, obstetricians and other medical experts have developed strategies aimed at reducing adverse outcomes and infant mortality rates.

These obstetric safety initiatives fall into three main categories:

  • Offering training in communication skills to encourage medical workers to voice their concerns about situations that are perceived as unsafe.
  • Bundling essential practices for doctors to follow in high-risk deliveries, such as an induced labor.
  • Reducing the rate of medically unnecessary C-sections.

Thus far, at least four major health care organizations have adopted these standardized practices, which have yielded promising results. For example, Hospital Corporation of America reported fewer maternal deaths from hypertension and pulmonary embolism, and New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center reported lower rates of fetal brain injury known as hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE).

After implementing these practices consistently, health care alliance Premier Inc. reported a 74 percent drop in birth trauma among full-term newborns.

The remarkable progress of some institutions in reducing preventable adverse outcomes is commendable and cause for some celebration. However, the fact remains that such measures have not been comprehensively implemented across the board.  Public Citizen concludes that as a consequence, “avoidable tragic events are likely continuing to occur at non-adopting hospitals.”

Legal advocates to support you

Our veteran birth injury attorneys understand the staggering financial hardships of raising a child who has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy or permanent brain damage. And while no amount of compensation can undue your family’s pain and suffering, a successful birth injury lawsuit in Los Angeles can hold negligent doctors accountable and ensure your child will receive the lifetime medical care that he or she deserves.

To learn more about your legal options or to book a free and confidential case evaluation, please call 310-641-3335.