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Last week we talked about the increased response to birth injuries that one Akron hospital is taking, but the program that it is participating in is also working hard to lower the number of pregnancy and delivery injuries. Though it may seem like mothers’ injuries and deaths during births ended decades ago, there has actually been an increase in the number of women who are injured or killed by medical mistakes during birth. In the 10 years leading up to 2009, there was a 75 percent increase in the number of women suffering kidney failure, cardiac arrest and respiratory distress.

Though some of the complications are a direct result of more obese and older mothers giving birth, it is ultimately a doctor’s job to make sure the baby and mother are healthy following delivery. Sometimes they aren’t, however, and this has led to a climbing number of medical malpractice lawsuits against obstetricians and gynecologists, some of which are upwards of $20 million. Many times obstetrics compose up to one-quarter of all a hospital malpractice claims.

The same program that is looking to lower the risk of birth injury has also been working with doctors in Akron and across the country to reduce the risk of maternal injury, too. As with birth injuries, doctors and surgeons practice with various pregnancy-complication scenarios. This situation-background-assessment-recommendation tactic was originally introduced by the military, and it has done a lot to get hospital staff acting more accurately and more quickly when an emergency does arise.

Unfortunately, it is still a dangerous and complicated process to give birth, but mothers in Ohio should not have to worry that their doctors will injure them or allow injury to befall them through medical negligence. When it does, there are medical malpractice lawsuits that can be filed against the obstetricians and gynecologists responsible.