Pregnancy and childbirth are not like they are in the movies. The experiences people have are widely varied and filled with all sorts of emotional extremes, joys, terrors, and practical considerations no one ever seems to talk about. When you trust your health in the hands of an obstetrician, you’re giving someone else access to your life and your child’s life during this tumultuous time when you are making new life decisions. You’re likely expecting care and support, but this isn’t always what you get.
What to Do When Your Obstetrician is Negligent
Unfortunately, an obstetrician can be negligent just like anyone else can; in instances of obstetric negligence, there are often brutal consequences. These consequences can leave you emotionally devastated, angry, overwhelmed, and many other things. In that state, it can be hard to know what to do. The following will explore four things you might want to keep in mind if your obstetrician has been negligent.
Reach Out To A Legal Professional
Negligence is a serious concern when it comes to people’s health, particularly the health of fetuses, infants, and pregnant or breastfeeding women. You might be looking at dealing with compensation claims or other paperwork. Don’t sign anything without speaking first to a birth injury lawyer. Insurance companies and hospitals might encourage you to pursue courses of action that aren’t in your best interest or that limit you from pursuing other courses in the future, which might reflect negatively on their medical practice.
Having at least a consultation with a lawyer can present you with all your legal options; you want to know what these are before you make any choices.
Seek Medical Support
Depending on the extent of the damages from the negligence, you might be in dire need of medical attention. Seek the aid of another medical professional immediately, even if you feel fine. Keep seeking additional opinions until you have found someone you trust that takes your experience seriously.
You might find you benefit from a combination of different healthcare professionals, potentially including an obstetrician, midwife, doula, or chiropractor (pregnancy-related back pain is no joke). If you’re unhappy with the care you’re getting, keep searching. According to the latest studies, 20% of diagnoses are incorrect. If you feel something isn’t right, keep searching for a healthcare practitioner that validates your experience.
Focus On Your Mental Health
You already know how intense the emotional experience you’re having is. This form of experience is so overwhelming that it can quickly rewire the brain resulting in a completely different mental landscape. You might feel unfamiliar with yourself or be struggling to meet your basic care needs. This is okay and completely appropriate, given what you’re dealing with.
This being said, it’s vital that you have someone you trust that you can talk to. If a partner is going through this experience with you, you can confide in each other, of course, but you both likely need someone outside of the relationship to talk to as there are some things you might not want to say to each other for fear of adding to one another’s discomfort.
Avoid Social Media
There are a lot of reasons you’re going to want to avoid social media for the time being. Foremost, if you’re entering into a legal proceeding, anything you post, like, comment on, follow, share, or otherwise engage with can be used against you. Lawyers, judges, law enforcement officers, and insurance company providers all have access to the internet just like everyone else. Something simple like a post about your dinner can be used to claim that you are not as damaged by this experience as you claim to be.
Beyond the legal reasons for avoiding social media, it can be a particularly challenging place for someone who is dealing with any amount of grief or loss surrounding pregnancy or parenthood. People tend to put forward their shiniest images, and this means that social media platforms are filled to the brim with pictures of happy families with matching outfits and tidy playrooms. Parents profess their love and happiness constantly online and present completely unrealistic depictions of pregnancy, childbirth, and family planning in the process.
On the flip side of this, you might find people complaining about their kids or their pregnancies, and this too can hit a nerve as they’re not dealing with the severity of your situation, and you would be more than happy to have what they have. Your scenario is hard enough without adding comparison into the mix.
The above list presents four important things you need to do if you’ve experienced harm due to an obstetrician’s negligence. There aren’t any words that can alleviate the fear or sorrow that comes with experiencing preventable harm during pregnancy or childbirth, but there are steps that can be taken to help you receive the care you need during this trying time.