One of the most vulnerable and important moments in a woman’s life is pregnancy and childbirth. During such a critical time, utmost care and attention to detail are necessary in order to ensure a safe and peaceful process for both the mother and child. To this end, extensive medical care is available, guiding parents-to-be through the entire process, relieving all fears and apprehensions they have. They are taken care of from the moment they first set foot inside the hospital till weeks after the baby is delivered and the woman is discharged.
Every single need of both mother and child is taken care of and looked after. All of this is extremely necessary owing to the delicacy of the whole procedure, and yet sometimes even all of this is not enough. Despite all the facilities of modern hospitals, medical care and healthcare professionals that are available to new parents and specifically women during pregnancy, sometimes none of it is enough to ensure a painless process.
There are risks to not only the child but in some cases to the mother as well. Knowing all of this, there are some glaring weakness and failures in the healthcare services at hand, that need to be looked into and mitigated, if not removed entirely. Today, we’ll be looking at 15 such problems. Problems that women face during this hyper-sensitive time that they do not need to be exposed to.
10 Medication Mishaps
First hospital failure that women have suffered from during pregnancy is medication errors. There have been many instances when hospitals have made an error in prescribing medicine to pregnant women. When medication errors occur during pregnancy, not just the mother but the baby suffers damage too. These complications could range from birth injuries to deaths even.
These errors also lead to premature births, brain damage, and abortions. These errors occur in all instances. The doctor might prescribe a medicine to the mother which is harmful to the baby. The dose of the medication could be wrong. There are also instances when women are given improper medication during labor.
There are also cases when pregnant women have been given medication by the nurse who skips the part where a small dosage is tested on the mother and jumps straight away to the part where the medication is given. This mostly happens when the doctor is busy and fails to keep a check on the nurse and the patient chart. There are many types of medication errors that could occur. These could be administering a ‘similar’ drug to the one which should’ve been prescribed. Hospital pharmacy might give the wrong drug to the mother due to an inability to read the doctor’s handwriting.
9 Anesthesia Gone Wrong
Another major issue that pregnant women face in hospitals is of anesthesia administration. The process of giving general anesthesia or an epidural is crucial to the mother and baby both. The amount of anesthesia could make a difference between life or death or even birth defects in the baby. These errors occur due to the negligence of the doctors or the aesthetician not being properly trained. These errors occur in various forms ranging from giving the incorrect dosage of anesthesia which could result in the patient waking up during the surgery, to delayed delivery of it. It could also occur in the form of not paying attention to the patient’s allergies and giving her anesthesia which could trigger them. There have been many instances where hospitals have failed to properly educate the patient about the anesthesia procedure and the instructions that come along with it such as limiting food or liquid intake. These errors also occur due to inefficient and faulty anesthetic machines used during the surgery which could harm both the mother and the child.
8 Catching An Infection
A common belief is that hospitals are extremely clean and hygienic however over time statistics have shown that hospitals tend to contain many viruses and diseases. These mostly occur due to a large number of very sick people who have been admitted to the hospital for a very long time. Improper care and maintenance lead to the prevalence of germs and infections which pregnant women could pick up leading to birth defects and illnesses.
MRSA Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus is an infection that has become quite common in the hospitals nowadays. This is one of the scariest infections that a pregnant woman could pick up from a hospital. This is a type of infection that is resistant to many antibiotics and does not allow them to do their job. This infection could be quite injurious to the health of the mother and the baby. Since babies have a vulnerable immune system they could be attacked instantly and could suffer gravely. Other dangerous diseases that these women could pick up are pneumonia and sicknesses from other patients. Hospitals need to take a note of this growing problem and take measures to wipe out this infection to ensure the patients’ safety.
7 Scary Post Surgery Risks
Women deliver babies both naturally and clinically. However, nowadays to be mothers prefer getting an epidural and having a surgery to avoid the pain that comes with natural birth. With more number of women coming in for a cesarean, the hospitals have a greater responsibility of making sure that their surgery procedures and equipment are both safe and secure. Sadly that is not the case and there are many risks that follow the surgery. Deep vein Thrombosis (DVT) is one of the major risks that are associated with surgeries. It is the formation of a blood clot in the veins of the leg which if breaks open could clog the arteries. There have been instances where hospitals have hired incompetent surgeons who don’t take preventive measure to avoid the occurrence of DVT. This could be harmful to both the mother and the child and could even result in death.
Hospitals nowadays seem to almost always be overcrowded. Patients are coming in and going out. The hospital staff is always on the go. During these times miscommunication is a major issue that could happen. Miscommunication happens in all sorts of forms. The types of miscommunication range from the doctors communicating incorrect patient information to the nurses.
In the case of a pregnant woman, the doctor could communicate the wrong symptoms to the nurse who could, in turn, administer the wrong medication which could be harmful to both the mother and the baby. Then this miscommunication also occurs when the nurses change shifts and they fail to update the patient chart accurately. This could result in the wrong dosage or timing of the drugs or even wrong drugs altogether. Miscommunication could also occur in the form of the wrong schedule of shifts which puts the wrong nurse for the patient who might not know the complete patient details and due to strict orders isn’t able to say anything
ELLEN POMPEO, CHANDRA WILSON[/caption]
Hospitals administer a tall hierarchy and mechanistic structure where nurses come under the doctors in the structure. This makes the doctor the ultimate authority over the patient. However, the nurses are the ones who are in direct contact with the patient and in this case the pregnant women. The doctors which are on rounds and are looking at various patients at a time have a distant contact with them and aren’t always in touch with them.
The nurses are the ones who continuously administer the condition of the patient and know what medicine to give when. Sadly, due to the power distance in hospitals prevent the nurses from taking the charge and mitigating a dangerous situation as they are the doctor. Since the doctor has the ultimate authority, the nurses are helpless and fail to help even when they at times know better than a doctor who has misunderstood the situation as he hasn’t been there at all times.
4 Mo Money, Mo Problems
Hospitals are under constant economic pressures of running the organization efficiently. They take measures which could help cut cost and take up more patients than they can admit. Most hospitals do this at the expense of the care that the other patients receive. Pregnant women are often at a danger as these hospitals might take such measures without caring about the labor or the birth process. The most common practice is to give Pitocin to the mother which isn’t medically necessary to speed up the delivery process.
Speeding up the labor process artificially can result in overriding the baby’s ability to have spaced out contractions in case the labor is too stressful. This could lead to birth defects and fetal distress. Another extremely dangerous practice is to rush to clamp and cut the umbilical cord. This cuts the flow of oxygenated blood to the baby before it established the lungs as the source of oxygen. This leads to the need of an instant blood transfusion just minutes after the birth. These practices are done by hospitals when they need to free up a birth room for another patient or the doctor has to oversee another delivery.
Making A Mess Of Delivery
There are many hospitals that administer improper delivery and labor methods and because there is a general unawareness about delivery and pregnancy related issues among women they just go with what the doctors say trusting them to do the right thing. A common practice is to make the laboring women stay in bed and having them push the baby out in a reclining position. What this does is it puts the baby’s weight on the placenta and the umbilical cord which could result in the cutoff of the supply pf oxygenated blood from the placenta to the baby. This leads to neonatal hypoxia, anemia, and increased fetal distress. The proper method is to push in an upright position which pushes the baby down to the open cervix away from the placenta. Not all hospitals follow the standard procedures and people are unaware of these things. Pregnant women should be very careful in choosing which hospital to go to and which doctor to reach out to for their pregnancy to make sure they use safe and secure methods, according to Baby Center.
3 Getting Separated From The Baby
One of the most unnecessary actions that hospitals take during the birth of the child is to separate the baby from the mother right after birth. This happens to interfere with the natural birth process. Even few minutes of separation could be critical in the first few hours after the birth. It prevents the natural nipple stimulation which increases’ the mother’s oxytocin. This allows the uterus to contract and prevent postpartum hemorrhage. Instead of baby provided nipple stimulation hospitals are now administering artificial stimulation and injection of synthetic simulation to stop the bleeding.
Wherever you deviate from the natural course, consequences are there. These artificial methods have their side effects and they show up one way or the other. It is common belief that the mother is the best warmer for the child and early cuddling right after the birth helps the baby’s body temperature to adjust to the new environment.
However, the early on separation by the hospital prevents the baby from having that connection making him’/her take a longer while to adjust to the new temperature. The newborn should also immediately be taken to the mother so it could breastfeed which is extremely important for the baby’s immune system. However, the separation does not allow for that and the nurses take the baby away to be bathed which according WHO recommendations should be put off for the first six hours after birth.
2 Forcing Moms To Undergo C-Section
In early times, natural birth was the chosen process and babies were delivered in the comfort and privacy of one’s home. Over the years, the modern woman now prefers to go with the cesarean approach as taking drugs and getting the baby out clinically is easier than going through the pain of natural birth. Hospitals are huge advocates of the cesarean approach and influence decisions of many pregnant women out there who become influenced and choose the clinical approach.
Hospitals do this to increase the number of patients and to decrease the percentage of house births. However what they purposefully miss out from the conversations are the risks attached with a caesarean birth. These surgeries increase the risk for the mother and the baby both. These surgeries also increase the risk in the following pregnancies that women would like to have. Cesarean operations take a while to heal and the women aren’t able to get back to normal so soon as is the case with a normal birth.
Hospitals nowadays have become more of a business than a public service. Their methods and procedures are more towards earning money and less towards giving patients the utmost care that they deserve. When a woman gets pregnant, one of the biggest decisions the couple has to face is which doctor to choose and which hospital to go to. These days there are hospitals built in every nook and cranny however they are not all up to mark and don’t follow the set standards.
However if you try to get a booking with a reputable hospital either they are packed with appointments or are way too expensive or out of reach for a couple that belongs to the middle class. Hospitals put unnecessary expenses into the bills which they could simply cancel out.
This businesslike attitude of the hospitals makes it difficult for the pregnant women to go to a good quality hospital which in turn affects her health and the health of the baby. Hospitals also have a tendency to prescribe a certain dosage of medication which would do the job but not completely and would make the patients come back. This practice allows the doctors to make the patients come back again and again unnecessarily when they could’ve just been given the right dosage the first time and save them all the time and money.
Despite all of the technological advances and progress humankind has made in recent history, oftentimes hospitals other than the really big ones in major cities do not have sufficient equipment to deal with complications and unforeseen circumstances during a pregnancy or delivery. And that’s talking about the developed countries.
In underdeveloped and third world countries, there remains a gaping mismatch between the high-end equipment available and the ones being used in low-resource settings. Most hospitals do not have access to sometimes even basic medical equipment, and even when they do it is sometimes faulty, increasing the risk of error. In a field where quick response and effective administration of medical assistance is key, this has dire consequences for patients.
Since the procedure is so delicate, even the slightest delay in treatment due to unavailability of equipment or error caused by faulty equipment can lead to terrible problems, not only in the short but also in the long run. An unfortunate consequence of this is patients having to run around, sometimes in emergency situations, searching for hospitals or healthcare centers which possess the necessary equipment to deliver medical treatment, which is oftentimes too expensive merely because of the fact that they have that equipment in the first place.
1 Getting A Misdiagnosis
Most often than not pregnant women suffer from the issue of a misdiagnosis or a delayed diagnosis. This is a practice that reflects upon the negligence of the doctors and the incompetence of both the doctors and the nurses. Many times the doctors tend to make the wrong conclusion from the ultrasound. Many couples hope to have a son who could carry their name forward. Doctors giving a misdiagnosis as to the baby being a female could end up making problems for the couple. It crushes all their hopes even though they should be happy with either of the gender. Doctors also happen to do a misdiagnosis in the condition of the to-be mother telling her that she has a certain condition for which she should take the prescribed medication. However, in reality, the pregnant woman is completely fine and is taking the heavy medication for no reason which could be harmful to both the mother and the child.
Childbirth is a very sensitive procedure that needs the doctors’ utmost attention and the slightest bit of negligence could be catastrophic for both the mother and the baby. However, unfortunately, many a times women undergoing childbirth suffer from childbirth injuries that tend to happen due to malpractice and negligence and incompetence of the doctors or nurses. The negligence could occur in the form of failure of realizing birth complications that could happen due to the large size of the baby or the umbilical cord getting tangled.
Mom Or Baby Not Getting Enough Attention
A stark reality of using hospitals for giving birth and medical care during pregnancy is that in hospitals, the patient sometimes does not get the full attention of the medical staff. One story we’ve heard far too often to be comforting is that of negligence on the part of the caregivers at hospitals. Time and time again, there have been reports and terrifying news of lives being lost and a patient’s condition worsening, simply because the doctors and nurses were too busy or distracted to notice. Now, although there are a number of cases of such things happening because the staff was simply distracted, there is no implication whatsoever that this only happens because of gross negligence.
There may be a number of reasons as to why such incidents occur. It is never surprising to learn that hospital staff were overworked and had simply too many patients to deal with to effectively administer medical help to all of them and one slipped through the cracks. As terrible as that sounds, it is a painful reality. It is a common fact that doctors and nurses are sometimes hopelessly overworked. But even if this is so, it is in itself a problem that must be fixed, because it is leading to severe trauma and even loss of life. Whatever the case may be, the fact remains that distracted staff is a serious problem with medical care given by hospitals during pregnancy and childbirth.