Maternity services are designed to provide care and support for pregnant women and their babies before, during, and after childbirth. In Australia, initiatives such as maternity services’ national standards are designed to ensure that women receive safe, high-quality care.
However, there are still issues in maternity services that can result in litigation. These issues can include:
- Failure to diagnose or treat complications – If a healthcare provider fails to diagnose or treat a complication during pregnancy, childbirth or the postpartum period, it can result in serious harm to the mother and/or the baby.
- Inadequate staffing – Insufficient staffing levels can result in delays in care or inadequate monitoring, which can put the mother and baby at risk.
- Inappropriate use of interventions – Overuse or inappropriate use of the interventions such as induction of labor, epidural anaesthesia, and episiotomy can lead to complications and harm to the mother and baby.
- Lack of informed consent – Patients have the right to be fully informed about their medical care and to make decisions about their treatment. Failure to obtain informed consent can result in legal action.
- Inadequate follow-up care – Postpartum care is essential for the health and well-being of the mother and baby. Failure to provide appropriate follow-up care can result in complications or delayed diagnosis of health issues.
When these issues arise, women and their families may choose to pursue legal action against the healthcare provider or facility responsible or both. Medical negligence claims related to maternity services can include claims for physical injuries, emotional trauma, care, and financial losses.
If you or someone you know suffered injury as a result of maternity care issues, it is important to seek legal advice as soon as possible after the incident.
In cases of medical negligence in maternity care, a lawyer with expertise in this area can advise on the relevant time limits, as well as the prospects of the claim for any injuries or harm suffered as a result of the incident.