Problems in Fetal Monitoring: Characteristics of Risks for Malpractice Suits
Moshe D. Fejgin, Yael Gershtanski, Talia Halamish-Shani
Dept. of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Meir Hospital, Kfar Saba; and Medical Risk Management Co., Tel Aviv
Medical malpractice suits in obstetrics comprise about 10% of all claims against medical institutions in Israel. A significant proportion are due to failures relating to fetal monitoring. We studied the characteristics of 102 of 4125 obstetrical cases reported to the Medical Risk Management Co. as being at risk for a malpractice suit.
The cases were divided into those with medical management failures (misinterpretation of fetal monitor tracing, failure to respond promptly to fetal monitoring indicating distress, etc.) and technical failures (loss of monitor tracings, interruption in the tracing at a critical time, unreadable tracings, etc.).
The monetary quantum in fetal monitoring failures exceeded $30,000,000. The majority of these failures could have been avoided by using central electronic fetal monitoring systems with alerting and archival capabilities.