Obstetrics & Gynecology Expert Witnesses
The insight attorneys need on women’s health and birth injury matters
Obstetrics and gynecology are closely related medical specialties that deal with women's reproductive health. Gynecology deals with the health of the female reproductive system (the uterus, vagina, and ovaries), while obstetrics focuses on pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. While they are traditionally considered distinct specialties, in modern medicine, almost all obstetricians are also gynecologists and vice versa, although some focus more on one specialty than the other.
In the United States, OB/GYNs must complete a medical degree (MD or DO), followed by a four-year residency in obstetrics and gynecology. The residency includes specialized training in various aspects of women's health, including prenatal care, labor and delivery, gynecologic surgeries, and management of obstetric and gynecologic emergencies. Some OB/GYNs complete fellowships in a subspecialty such as maternal-fetal medicine or reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Board Certification for OB/GYNs is administered by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG).
In their capacity as gynecologists, OB/GYNs diagnose and treat a wide variety of medical conditions, including but not limited to:
- Menstrual problems: Irregular, heavy, or painful menstrual periods, amenorrhea (absence of menstruation), and dysmenorrhea (painful periods).
- Pelvic pain: endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and ovarian cysts.
- Infections of the female reproductive system: sexually transmitted infections (STIs), bacterial vaginosis, and yeast infections.
- Infertility: polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, and fallopian tube blockages.
- Menopause: care and support for women experiencing menopause, including hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and treatment for symptoms such as hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and mood changes.
- Female reproductive system cancers: ovarian, cervical, and uterine cancer.
As obstetricians, OB/GYNs provide prenatal care, monitor pregnant patients for complications and risk factors, interpret ultrasound results, and manage labor and delivery. OB/GYNs are also responsible for postpartum care for the mother, including monitoring physical and emotional recovery, checking the baby's health, and providing guidance on breastfeeding, newborn care, and family planning.
What is OB/GYN malpractice?
Because OB/GYNs are involved in managing all aspects of women’s health, there are numerous possible complications and consequences of malpractice. Some examples include:
- Failure to diagnose cervical, uterine, or ovarian cancer.
- Failure to properly diagnose a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
- Surgical errors while performing a hysterectomy, tubal litigation, episiotomy, or caesarean section.
- Failure to monitor the baby’s heartbeat or the mother’s vital signs during labor.
- Misuse of forceps or vacuum extractors during delivery.
- Improper administration of Pitocin to induce labor.
The role of an OB/GYN as an expert witness
Obstetrician-gynecologists are essential expert witnesses in nearly all birth injury matters as well as medical malpractice cases involving OB/GYN malpractice. An experienced obstetrician can explain the applicable standards of care and offer an opinion on whether the defendant healthcare provider met those standards. They can also opine whether the failure to meet the standard of care caused the plaintiff’s injury and whether prompt intervention (such as inducing labor or performing an emergency C-section) could have led to a better outcome.
OB/GYNs are also important expert witnesses in personal injury matters involving pregnant victims, as they can opine on any potential pregnancy complications and related injuries sustained in the accident. A gynecologist can also help to establish causation and damages for any incident that involves injury to the female reproductive organs, from falls to sexual assault.
The best in obstetrics and gynecology to assist the legal community
Rieback Medical-Legal Consultants has been helping America’s finest birth injury and medical malpractice attorneys find highly qualified, credible expert witnesses for decades. Our network includes Board-Certified OB/GYNs available for consultations, deposition, and trial testimony. Contact us for a free case summary review.