Due to certain circumstances in pregnancy, a doctor may choose to induce labor. Labor induction is “the stimulation of uterine contractions during pregnancy before labor begins on its own to achieve a vaginal birth” (Mayo Clinic). This process does come with some risks; a failed induction may lead to a C-section and corresponding complications such as post-partum hemorrhage.
A group at the University of Pennsylvania created a labor induction calculator to calculate the likelihood that an induction will end in a c-section. Over the course of a year, Hamm and colleagues implemented this calculator with over 800 full term women. The data was then compared with inductions from the year prior to the introduction of the calculator.
The results were favorable, with a significant overall decrease in maternal mortality. Hamm discovered that with women who had a low risk score coming into an induction, “providers were willing to work to achieve a vaginal delivery for low-risk women and avoid the morbidity associated with cesarean” and in the group with a calculated high risk of c-section “providers made the decision for cesarean sooner, avoiding morbidity from prolonged and failed induction" (Walker, 2020).
Hamm does caution that clinic judgment does supersede the calculator, but it does allow for an objective measurement to help guide decisions.
Each person involved in a patient’s care has a responsibility to that patient, whether it involves diagnosing a problem, providing the right dosage of medication, taking steps to prevent infection, developing safe protocols and procedures, or following those protocols and procedures. When healthcare providers and facilities fail to do so, they may be held responsible for medical malpractice.
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