Any woman who is going into a hospital or birthing center knows that she will be monitored, at least periodically, throughout her labor. This is done in an effort to make sure that the stress of the labor process doesn't harm the mother or baby. While this monitoring is usually effective, it isn't foolproof. There are some instances in which Texas mothers or their unborn babies might end up suffering injuries because the monitoring isn't done effectively or isn't interpreted properly. In those cases, the mother has the option of seeking compensation for her injuries through a medical malpractice lawsuit.
What some people don't realize is that nurses have a duty to their patients to alert the doctor if there is anything amiss in the labor process. While there are some situations the nurse might be able to deal with on her own, there are many that do require the assistance and expertise of a doctor. In those cases, it is vital that the nurse communicate with the doctor and take steps to keep the mother and her baby safe.
One area that nurses have a unique responsibility is gauging a woman's pain level to determine if pain relief options, such as epidurals, are conducive to the labor experience. In some cases, there might be contraindications that will prevent the woman from being able to have the pain relief she desires. In those cases, the nurse has to work with the doctor to determine what is safe for the woman. She also has to find a way to explain the situation to the woman in an effort to come up with a suitable method of pain relief.
Failing to adequately gauge a woman's pain could potentially lead to missed signals for medical emergencies. An example would be if the woman complains of excruciating pain, but that pain is minimized by the nurse. That excruciating pain could be caused by a placental abruption or uterine tear, both of which can be fatal without prompt care. A nurse misinterpreting that pain level could lead to the death of the mother, baby or both.
Nurses are a woman's front-line team during labor and delivery. These nurses should be trained in various aspects of good patient care and monitoring during labor and delivery. Injuries to a mother or her baby that could have been prevented by adequate nursing aren't acceptable.
Source: Elsevier Health, "Nursing Care During Labor and Pain Management" accessed Feb. 12, 2015