Communication in medicine, specifically obstetrics, is one of the most important factors leading to a healthy outcome for both mother and child. A breakdown in communication can lead to tragic birth-related injuries including life-altering injuries to the child. This medical miscommunication is malpractice, especially when the circumstances were preventable.Managing Partner, Brad Zimmerman, just took the deposition of a physician in an obstetric case involving a mother whose cervix was noted as being significantly shortened during the early part of her pregnancy. The treatment for this condition is to place a cerclage, or band, around the cervix to provide greater support, preventing the cervix from opening too early and delaying delivery until the infant is full term.In this case, the doctor did not treat high-risk patients and indicated that they would have referred the mother to a maternal-fetal medicine doctor at another institution for consideration of a cerclage. Unfortunately, there was a complete breakdown in communication and the bureaucratic steps at the prenatal clinic were not followed leading to a significant delay in scheduling the consult. By the time the examination was scheduled with the maternal-fetal medicine doctor, the mother had already gone into labor, leading to the birth of a one (1) pound baby at 25 weeks gestation. The child has cognitive and physical injuries which could have been prevented had the doctor merely picked up the phone and spoken directly with the maternal-fetal medicine doctor. This neglect of duties and medical miscommunication is obstetrical malpractice on the doctor’s behalf.If you have a child who has suffered significant injuries at birth and you would like to speak to a lawyer about possible claims, please call us at (212)-869-3500.
Medical Miscommunication is Malpractice
March 8, 2018