YUMA, Arizona. America’s idea of medical malpractice and personal injury is changing. More women are becoming aware of their rights during childbirth and are fighting back when doctors fail to honor their wishes. In recent months, we’ve seen reports where doctors performed unwanted surgeries and other procedures on women during labor. According to QZ , one woman was forced to undergo an episiotomy even though she had told the doctor she did not consent to the procedure. At the end of the day, women in labor have the right to make a determination of what procedures are and aren’t done to them while they are giving birth. When a doctor ignores a woman’s wishes, he or she could be responsible for medical malpractice or personal injury.
However, for doctors working in communities where birth death rates and injuries are high, it can be difficult for doctors to do their jobs. According to the New York Times, doctors are reluctant to work in the Bronx where doctors see the highest complication rates during delivery and childbirth. High complication rates mean a greater risk for medical malpractice lawsuits against doctors. Some doctors refuse to work at the hospital because they will likely face so many malpractice lawsuits while working there that they may not be employable anywhere else.
In fact, when it comes to medical malpractice insurance, obstetrics and gynecologists face the highest insurance premiums. An injury to a newborn baby can result in life-long injury and life-long medical costs. In fact, the New York Times reports that medical malpractice insurance in the Bronx can cost as much as $196,000 a year.
The unintended consequences of medical malpractice in obstetrics is that doctors may be reluctant to work in the field in certain areas. Some rural areas may see a shortfall of qualified doctors. Some doctors can only afford to work at big hospitals where they have the support of a larger institution, while other doctors may choose to avoid the field altogether.
It is a delicate balancing act. Women have a right to be heard during their pregnancies and they have the legal right to refuse care. However, doctors also have a vested interest to protect themselves and they may struggle when a patient refuses care that they believe is medically necessary.
Poverty can also affect pregnant women before they even reach the care of a doctor. Malnutrition, housing insecurity, healthcare issues resulting from lack of continuous healthcare coverage, and the stress of living under the poverty line can all impact a woman long before she goes under the care of a qualified doctor. Some women may not seek prenatal care at all. In Bronx, 10.5% of babies born received no prenatal care. When doctors are concerned about malpractice and the hospitals’ coverage of malpractice, this can also impact the quality of care mothers may receive. We could be seeing a negative cycle at play, where the good doctors serve less at risk communities and the doctors who are hired are the ones who, for whatever reason, cannot work elsewhere. The communities may be served by the worst doctors.
At the end of the day, patients can suffer serious injuries if they don’t receive proper care during pregnancy and labor. Their babies can also suffer life-altering and life-long injuries if they are hurt during childbirth and delivery.
If you or a loved one suffered a personal injury at the hands of a medical practitioner, you have rights. Schneider & Onofry, P.C. are personal injury attorneys in Arizona who work with individuals facing injuries due to a doctor’s medical decisions. Visit our firm today at https://www.soarizonalaw.com/clients/insurance to learn more about your rights and options under the law.