Doctor error or fate?

You want to birth in a water. The 140-kilogram woman in the Gebärwanne, as the birth increases. The Intern should bring with you to the birthing bed, so that the child can be retrieved with forceps. He says to the woman: “It will be dangerous.” But she remains in the tub. The child does not get enough oxygen, contributes to permanent damage. The parents claim compensation – with success. The doctor had not made the woman with the necessary emphasis on the risks, judge the judge.

Or the lawyers are few, the wants to be the chief physician supervised. As the birth begins, he has no time and sends a doctor the top. She is nervous, wants to make everything right. During the routine check the heart tones of the child are easily noticeable. After a blood test, the Doctor decides to go for an emergency C-section. The child comes out healthy, the mother complains anyway. It calls for damages because of bodily injury, and because you missed the birth experience. The case ends with a comparison.

There is not always a culprit

Mistakes happen, even in obstetrics. How many are there, nobody can say exactly. Be it but not more than in other medical fields, and they would not have also increased, say midwives, Doctors, the Medical service of the health insurance companies and the insurance industry. “Has increased the willingness to claim compensation,” says the gynecologist Dietrich Berg, created for more than 20 years, reports to the medical liability law.

While the payments for affected families mean at least financial relief in their difficult life situation, to bring the rising damages, sums of money, Doctors and midwives in trouble. “The sums have increased since 2003, each year an average of seven per cent,” says Nils Hellberg, head of liability, credit, marine and aviation insurance at the Association of the insurance industry. Because thanks to medical advances, even the severely disabled children have a higher life expectancy. This is a great success. Care and therapy costs, but an immense amount of money. “For a most serious birth defect, there are today an average of 2.6 million euros in damages,” said Hellberg.

Often complaints are an expression of despair. “Parents with a seriously ill child, looking for reasons and guilty parties,” observes Frank Louwen, Secretary of the German society for gynecology and obstetrics. But not always you can name them.

Only around a third of all claims for compensation has before the court a success, says the many years of expert Alexander Teichmann, head physician of the gynecological clinic at Klinikum Aschaffenburg-Alzenau. If parents come through with their action, depends on two factors. Firstly: all that is made, which corresponds to the medical Standard? Or was there a mistake? Secondly, If there were errors, these must be for the injury responsible. But often can not clearly say.

Unnecessary Tests out of fear of lawsuits

Examples of rejected complaints are many: the claim for damages of a plaintiff, for example, was removed after the birth of the uterus. The measure was necessary to save her life, the reasons for the rejection. Also lack of oxygen as a trigger for a birth defect is not always the fault of the Doctors, midwives or nurses. Maybe you have made a mistake and cut too late, the Emperor decided. Maybe all this was correct – and yet, the birth went wrong. Another reason may be that the umbilical cord in the womb has been tied. “The child carries a damage, but there is no guilty party,” explains Teichmann.

Many of the processes that turn today to the question of whether Physicians can identify certain problems in the pregnancy. “It’s a question of whether you need to make on the basis of the findings, more investigations would have,” says Teichmann. What insights you have gained? They would have led to a different treatment? If Yes, the failure to inspect as a serious rule violation. The doctor or midwife must then demonstrate that the absence of action may not avoid the damage.

All of this has consequences. “When I am afraid, that I will later be blamed on a lack of findings, I will examine in the Prevention is always everything,” says Teichmann. This also leads to unnecessary Tests, ultrasound and CTG studies.

Because the liability premiums are rising steadily, more and more professional midwives in the obstetrics. And many obstetrician acted only on the defensive, complains Martina Klenk, President of the German midwife Association. “Takes a birth long, is made out of fear of complications is more likely a caesarean section.” Children in breech presentation or twins don’t come very often by caesarean section on the world, though that would be, in many cases, medically necessary. “As a result, Can be lost,” says Klenk. Caesarean section

    There are only a few medical indications for a caesarean section. For example, if the child is situated transversely to the longitudinal axis of the mother and a natural birth impossible. Or if the placenta lies in front of the cervix. Such constellations are rare, with Only around 1.4 percent of all C-sections go on a cross-back, one percent to the incorrect position of the placenta, have health scientists determined.Much more common is the caesarean section is an Option: In the case of a breech presentation, high birth weight, multiple births or previous caesarean section recommended by many of the Doctors surgery – is imperative you do not, even if some hospitals appear to suggest. Otherwise it would be difficult to explain that the number of planned caesarean sections in Germany varies widely so strong In Dresden for a mere 5.7 percent of all children came in 2010, through a planned caesarean section, in a circle Tischenreuth (Bayern) 32,51%.

About The Author

  • privateCarina Frey, studied sociologist, works on stations in the “Frankfurter Rundschau” and Reuters as a freelance journalist. Her focus is on consumer – and science-related issues.