doctor consoling patient on gynecology errors

The female reproductive system is an important part of every woman’s life. When a doctor is careless, fails to follow well-established medical guidelines, or is just too tired and overworked, gynecology errors and mistakes may result. As a result of such errors, injury to a mother, baby, or both may occur. A New England Journal of Medicine study reviewed 1452 closed medical malpractice claims and found that 60% of the plaintiffs were women, and another 19% of plaintiffs were newborns. Additionally, the study revealed that obstetricians and gynecologists (OB/GYNs) were the most frequently sued physicians (making up 19% of defendants in the examined cases) (i).

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gynecology-errorsGynecologists are frequently the targets of medical malpractice litigation. Gynecologists’ malpractice insurance premiums of $100,000 per year are becoming commonplace nationwide. Adverse outcomes within the practice frequently lead to multimillion dollar awards (ii). A physician sourcebook revealed that OB/GYNs are sued, on average, every 4 years. On the whole, over 50% of OB/GYNs had been sued two or more times (iii). Along these same lines, according to a recent American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) survey, over 77% of ACOG Fellows had been sued, and over 41% of the group had experienced at least one claim resulting form care provided during their medical school residency training (iv).

Gynecology errors may happen in a number of instances:

  • Mistakes in gynecological surgery, such as:
    • Injury to adjacent organs
    • Bleeding
    • Infection
    • Retained foreign object (surgical device left in the body)
  • Improperly performed office procedures
  • Lab test reading errors
  • Failure to diagnose, particularly:
    • Breast cancer
    • Ectopic pregnancy (a dangerous & potentially life-threatening condition to mothers)
  • Improper delivery technique
  • Failure to monitor during childbirth
  • Errors in fetal testing

surgical-errorIf a patient experiences injury during surgery as a result of surgical error, and that injury goes undetected, the consequences could be fatal. Additionally, if a doctor fails to follow the required medical standard of care, a woman may experience permanent and irreversible injury.


  • (i) New England Journal of Medicine. 2006.
  • (ii) Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality. 2003.
  • (iii) OB/GYN and Medical Malpractice Litigation Symposium. 2010.
  • (iv) American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 2011.