For the most part, the fear of medical malpractice suits keeps doctors honest and on top of their game. However, when there is a large number of lawsuits in one area of practice, they can actually lower the quality of care. Take the field of obstetrics and gynecology, for instance. Next to neurosurgeons, obstetricians are the most sued doctors in the country.
An amazing 70 percent of OBs have been sued, and awards are huge when patients win their case. But women and babies are still not getting better care. In fact women are getting poorer care because of them. Following are ways that lawsuits are affecting your care:
Due to the high cost of malpractice insurance and fear of litigation, many OBs have given up on delivering babies altogether. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reports that 1 in 7 OBs have stopped delivering babies. This trend is likely to cause a shortage in the field, making it harder for women to find care.
The ACOG predicts that there will be a shortage of up to 14,000 doctors over the next couple of decades.
Doctors are also prescribing some unnecessary screening tests without cause in an effort to catch anything they might miss, such as birth defects and potential problems that might arise during the birthing process. This trend not only puts women and babies through unnecessary stress, it is costly and time consuming for patients. What's worse, it's not helping. American woman are four times more likely to die during or immediately after childbirth than women in other developed countries.
More Cesarean Sections
More C-sections are being performed than in decades past. In 1965, less than 5 percent of women delivered babies by C-section. Today, approximately one in three women have C-sections. There are several reasons why doctors are turning to surgery more often. Common practices, such as labor induction and epidurals increase the likelihood of surgery. What's more, some doctors preemptively perform surgery at the first sign of trouble without trying other methods first to avoid injury to the child and mother, which may result in a potential lawsuit.
Unfortunately, decreased quality in care is likely to lead to even more lawsuits, which may further lower the quality of care for women in this country. Women and babies are entitled to the best care possible, and when doctors fail to deliver, women can and should sue for damages. Unfortunately, lack of good care along with increased lawsuits has created a downward spiral in one of the most important and emotionally charged fields of medicine.
To learn more, contact a company like Davidson Law Center Inc. with any questions you have.