Updated: May 8
Quick thinking and swift action serve injured soldiers well on the battlefield, but that high-quality triage care does not translate well to effective obstetrical care.
In 2014, the New York Times published a report, based on Pentagon data, court records and employee interviews. The military website Stars and Stripes covered the report, citing egregious issues within the military medical industry.
According to the article, “…more than 50,000 babies are born at military hospitals each year, and they are twice as likely to be injured during delivery as newborns nationwide, statistics show. And their mothers were more likely to hemorrhage after childbirth than mothers at civilian hospitals, according to a 2012 analysis conducted for the Pentagon.”
The high rate of medical complications and birth injuries in military hospitals is caused by several factors – one of them being a failure to prioritize patient safety.
“Never events” that should never happen
Some instances of medical malpractice are known as “never events,” or preventable events that should absolutely never occur when there is a competent medical professional responsible for a patient’s care. Such events include operating on the wrong patient, operating on the wrong body part, and leaving medical devices behind inside a patient.
Regarding birth injuries, one never event cited was the death of a healthy fetus because the doctors performed the wrong operation on the mother.
Military Medical hospitals do not show signs of progress
Months after the report was released, the New York Times followed up with a report compiling responses from military medical facility employees who claim that patient care is simply not a priority in hospitals and clinics on military bases. According to the article, superiors are unwilling to hear or investigate reported safety or procedural issues.
Complications specific to military healthcare facilities include a supervisory structure based on military rank instead of medical expertise. For example, a nurse may oversee a doctor and therefore the doctor may have a difficult time obtaining a qualified second opinion or guidance from a supervisor. Additionally, doctors and nurses have reported retaliation against whistleblowers and other military medical professionals attempting to draw attention to oversight or wrongdoing.
As of 2014, the New York Times compared each US military hospital’s rate of complications in surgeries and baby deliveries to the civilian hospital average. To learn more about your hospital’s statistics on birth and surgical complication, click on this report from the New York Times.
Military hospitals responsible for birth injuries must be held accountable
The high risk of complication during labor and delivery is a dark blemish on the US military. The Bertling Law Group represents military members, veterans and military families in cases where birth injuries were sustained at military medical facilities. Our attorney represents clients in California and nationwide, and we do not get paid until our clients receive compensation for their losses. To schedule a free consultation, contact the Bertling Law Group online or call 844-295-7558 today.