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Study reveals impact of uniform protocols on birth injury rates

After spending two years following standardized protocol in prenatal care, 14 hospitals found that the frequency of birth injuries dropped markedly over that time. In fact, one North Carolina health provider was at the forefront of the health-care initiative.

Among the participating hospitals, the occurrence of prenatal hypoxia, asphyxia and birth trauma fell by 22 percent and anesthesia-related complications for mothers dipped by 15 percent. These medical issues often result in brain damage to newborns or maternal death, respectively, and are often preventable.

The institutions used "evidence-based interventions" that are designed to work together with one another when complications arise. By taking simple steps to provide well-though-out care, mothers and their infants were at a lower risk of suffering as the result of a medical error. For many, this may seem very simple or elementary, but devastating medical errors can occur when health-care providers don't communicate effectively, follow proven procedures or thoughtfully approach treatment.

The leaders of this study plan to continue their work in order to find more ways to reduce the risk of injury or complications during childbirth. Hopefully medical providers throughout our state will look at the results of the study and implement measures to reduce the number of medical accidents.

One small, but misinformed, medical decision has the ability to change the lives of expecting parents forever. The good news is evidence suggests that there are ways to prevent these unfortunate events. Unfortunately, however, medical institutions do not always follow or enforce these kinds of measures when patients need it the most.

Source: American Medical News, "Preventable birth injuries cut after proven interventions are bundled," Tanya Albert Henry, Dec. 19, 2012

  • Our firm has experience helping families through the difficult weeks after a preventable medical error. To learn more about your legal rights, please see our North Carolina birth injury page.

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