-- Robert Preidt
TUESDAY, Nov. 19, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Human error is the
most common cause of infant asphyxiation at birth, according to a
new Norwegian study.
Birth asphyxia occurs when a baby doesn't receive enough oxygen
before, during or immediately after birth. It can lead to brain
damage and death.
In this study, researchers looked at 161 compensation claims for
birth asphyxia made in Norway between 1994 and 2008. In those
cases, 54 infants died and 107 survived, including 96 who suffered
Human error was the most common cause of birth asphyxia. Half of
the cases were due to inadequate fetal monitoring, 14 percent were
due to lack of clinical knowledge, 11 percent were due to failure
to follow clinical guidelines, 10 percent were due to failure to
ask for senior medical staff assistance and 4 percent were due to
errors in drug administration.
In cases where there was substandard care, the obstetrician and
midwife were identified as the responsible staff 49 percent and 46
percent of the time, respectively, according to the study, which
was published recently in the journal
Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica.
"In most compensated cases, poor fetal monitoring led to an inadequate supply of oxygen to the infant," study author Dr. Stine Andreasen, of department of obstetrics and gynecology at Nordland Hospital in Bodo, Norway, said in a journal news release.
"Training for midwives and obstetricians, along with high-quality audits, could help to reduce claims for compensation after birth asphyxia," Andreasen said.
The University of California, San Francisco, Children's Hospital
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