Author(s): Ogburn PL Jr, Julian TM, Brooker DC, Joseph MS, Butler JC,
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Abstract One hundred fifty-three closed claims involving perinatal injury or death filed from 1980 through 1982 with the St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Company were studied. The claims included were those in which an indemnity was paid or $1,000 or more was expended on the legal defense. Five obstetricians reviewed these cases to identify obstetric and neonatal risk factors. In addition, cases were classified as to the presence or absence of medical negligence. Most of the complications leading to claims arose during labor and delivery. Many claims resulted from the failure to evaluate or treat in a manner consistent with accepted standards of care. Many lacked documentation of the physician's recognition of the risk factors involved. Low Apgar scores at both one and five minutes were the newborn risk factors seen most commonly. In the opinion of the reviewers, medical negligence occurred in 47\% of the cases. Indemnity payment occurred with most of the claims judged to be associated with medical negligence. Payment to the claimant was made in a number of cases in which the reviewer thought no malpractice occurred. These results suggest that improvements may be needed in prenatal and perinatal health care as well as in the legal system used to address the problem of perinatal medical negligence.
This article was published in J Reprod Med
and referenced in Journal of Socialomics