New Program Attempts to Reduce Delivery Errors

"Care Bundles" Helping Reduce Obstetric Injuries

The New York Weill Cornell Medical Center and New York-Presbyterian Hospital recently completed a successful safety program, called a "care bundle," that reduced errors by more than 11 percent during birth deliveries. It was such a successful program that the New York State Legislature is currently considering a law to make the program mandatory for its hospitals. However, the bill is currently in committee and faces some opposition by the medical community, including the authors of the study, who suggest more research before beginning widespread implementation.

The program did provide much-needed good news, however. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 91 percent of OB/GYNs have had a liability claim filed against them for medical errors, with 62 percent of those claims coming from problems related to birthing.

An alliance of hospitals known as Premier Inc. has reported five common and recurring mistakes that result in danger to babies and mothers during delivery:

  • The doctor does not begin a Cesarean section soon enough
  • The doctor fails to recognize an infant is in danger or distress
  • The doctor fails to properly resuscitate a baby
  • The doctor uses inappropriate or inaccurate amounts of labor-inducing drugs
  • A doctor or staff member misuses medical devices such as a vacuum or forceps

The care bundle program uses discussions among doctors, nurses and other staff to promote teamwork and anticipate risks. The team also practices with robots and mannequins to simulate emergency situations. Team members may also simulate high-stress scenarios and critical situations in order to be prepared during actual emergencies.

The Costs Arising From Obstetric Errors Is High

While the safety program was encouraging, the care bundle program has been used in only a few hospitals, and birthing injuries remain a tragic problem. The injuries resulting from medical errors during birth can be devastating for the newborn and mother. If you, your child or loved one has experienced harm due to medical negligence, consult an experienced personal injury attorney who can hold hospitals responsible for medical mistakes, and to obtain the much-needed compensation for costs arising from the tragedy.