Having a baby should be the happiest day of a parent’s life. Unfortunately, inattentive doctors and failed hospital systems can cause that happy time to turn into a catastrophic event. Since our childhood, we have been taught not to question those in power and to always show proper respect. The practice of medicine, however, has continued to devolve to the point that many health care providers and hospital systems have begun putting profits over patient safety. They schedule too many patients in a day and too many births in a given time block. When this happens, individual patient care takes a back seat, and important findings are missed. For example, certain medical conditions, like gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, should be diagnosed by an OBGYN during the woman’s pregnancy. If the doctor fails to properly monitor the condition, it can result in a horrible outcome for the baby, including cerebral palsy (caused by lack of oxygen to the brain). Similarly, fetal distress during delivery should be immediately recognized and treated to prevent anoxic brain injury. If it is not properly diagnosed, the baby will suffer serious, permanent injury.
In addition to birth injuries, babies can also be subject to birth trauma, namely post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that occurs after childbirth. According to the Birth Trauma Association, characteristic features of PTSD include:
- An experience involving the threat of death or serious injury to an individual or another person close to them (e.g. their baby).
- A response of intense fear, helplessness, or horror to that experience.
- The persistent re-experiencing of the event by way of recurrent intrusive memories, flashbacks, and nightmares. The individual will usually feel distressed, anxious, or panicky when exposed to things which remind them of the event.
- Avoidance of anything that reminds them of the trauma. This can include talking about it, although sometimes women may go through a stage of talking of their traumatic experience a lot so that it obsesses them at times.
- Bad memories and the need to avoid any reminders of the trauma will often result in difficulties with sleeping and concentrating. Sufferers may also feel angry, irritable, and be hyper vigilant (feel jumpy or on their guard all the time).
Until doctors and hospitals stop treating patient care as a profit center, these types of unfortunate, preventable, catastrophic injuries will continue to occur.