• New Mothers Unlikely to Sue Doctors for Rights Violations

    medical malpracticeMedical malpractice lawsuits are often about more than simply receiving compensation for an injury. Instead, they are a tool to hold medical professionals accountable for their treatment of patients, both in a medical and non-medical sense. For women who give birth for the first time, they often are not even aware of what their rights during childbirth entail, let alone how to defend themselves in a medical malpractice situation.

    In general, tort law gets a bad reputation. This is the branch of law that deals with civil injuries or other harm that is caused by one person to another. There are often seen as frivolous yet it is arguably one of the most important branches of legal practice. These lawsuits tend to be the only real defense everyday citizens have against government entities or other organizations with a large number of attorneys at their disposal, such as a hospital.

    Accountability

    More than a financial package, these lawsuits create accountability for government and medical workers. For OB-GYN liability, accountability is all the more important. While it is colored as touchy women being to blame for defensive medicine where unnecessary tests and procedures are used out of legal safety, it is widely untrue. In fact, a major study found medical errors are very common while litigation is very uncommon.

    When patients do pursue legal action, it takes years to come to a result and over half the award goes to administrative fees such as legal defense and witnesses. However, the vast majority of medical malpractice victims never see any money due to never suing, and the cases that do make it to court are unlikely to win in trial. Most payouts happen outside of the courtroom.

    Tort Reform Unlikely to Help

    The solution may seem to be tort reform but it is unlikely to actually alleviate practitioner stress over lawsuits, nor is it likely to help improve the quality of medical care for women. To exemplify this, we can look at cesarean sections. Across states and liability frameworks, there seems to be little to no correlation between the cost or liability insurance and the procedure. Tort reforms in the past have had little effect on the rate, as well.

    Physicians may be using liability as an excuse for the surgery or other interventions for a more selfish reason: lower liability and higher payments to themselves. They also may believe the risk of being sued is higher than it really is. During a survey, only 11% of OB/GYNs seemed to feel a reduced number of medical errors would be a good way to limit malpractice liability yet the rest surveyed seemed to feel tort reform would help. This indicates the misinformation and attitude toward OB/GYN accountability and how women who do sue are viewed has a bigger impact than any legal reform ever could.

    If your rights were violated during childbirth, contact us today. Our team believes women should seek out accountability for the wrongs against them and will fight for that right.

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