A recent study by Norwegian researchers investigates claims made to the Norwegian System of Compensation to Patients (NPE) for neurological injury or death following birth asphyxia.

For the study, researchers reviewed 315 claims made to the NPE for alleged birth asphyxia. Of the cases reviewed, 50% attributed to inadequate fetal monitoring, 14% lack of clinical knowledge, 11% non-compliance to clinical guidelines, 10% failure to ask for senior medical assistance, and 4% were errors in drug administration — all of which are human error, the researchers noted. In cases of substandard care, the obstetrician and midwife were documented as the responsible staff at 49% and 46%, respectively.

“In most compensated cases, poor fetal monitoring led to an inadequate supply of oxygen to the infant. Training for midwives and obstetricians, along with high-quality audits, could help to reduce claims for compensation after birth asphyxia,” said Stine Andreasen, MD, with the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Nordlandssykehuset (Nordland Hospital) in Bodø, Norway.