Report Analyzes Obstetrics-Related Outcomes

A few months after analyzing radiology claims, medical liability insurer Coverys has released a new report that examines obstetrics-related liability claims to highlight areas of vulnerability in maternal and fetal care.

The report, released today, analyzed more than 470 obstetrics-related closed medical professional liability claims from 2013-2017.

Findings include:

  • The single largest cause of obstetrical claims was alleged negligence during the management of labor, accounting for 40% of claims.
  • Vaginal births resulted in more claims than cesarean sections (52% vs. 45%) and more than three times as many claims as emergency cesarean sections (52% vs. 15%).
  • 80% of obstetrics claims involved injuries with the highest clinical severity—such as maternal loss of fertility, cerebral palsy, neonatal blindness or hearing impairment—and 24% resulted in death of the infant, mother, or both.
  • Clinical judgment was the top risk management issue, cited in over 50% of claims and reflected in all phases of the perinatal process:
    • Clinical judgment issues include inappropriate management of labor and delivery (37%) and inappropriate management of pregnancy (14%)
  • Approximately 90% of obstetrics claims included injuries to babies. These were concentrated in three categories: neurological/brain (41%), shoulder dystocia/brachial plexus injuries (37%), and fetal demise (including stillbirth) (34%).