An OB/GYN, or an obstetrician and gynecologist, is a doctor that specializes in the care for women's reproductive health and pregnancy along with many other conditions that affect women. These doctors provide a wide range of treatments from preventative care to diagnostic testing and delivering babies.
There are about 34,000 OB/GYN doctors in the United States.
Obstetrician/ gynecologists, like all doctors, are required to graduate from medical school. To become an OB/GYN, students must earn a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.) from an accredited medical school. Doctors are then required to specialize in obstetrics and gynecology before becoming an OB/GYN.
After graduation from medical school, doctors must become licensed to practice medicine in whichever state they plan to practice medicine. Licensing requirements vary by state. A state license enables a doctor to practice any type of medicine in the state, but does not serve as qualification for specific types of medicine.
To become an OB/GYN, doctors will need to complete a 3-7 year residency program. During the residency program, OB/GYN doctors will learn about a variety of medical conditions relating to obstetrics, gynecology, and emergency medicine.
Board certification is an important step most doctors take to demonstrate expertise in a field of medicine. OB/GYN doctors are certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ABOG). OB/GYN doctors can also subspecialize and earn certifications in fields like reproductive endocrinology, fertility, gynecologic oncology, and reconstructive surgery.
Where OB/GYNs Work
OB/GYN doctors work in a variety of settings including private and group practices, hospitals, and clinics.
The average salary of an OB/GYN is $257,000.
How They Help People
OB/GYNs provide a wide range of health services to women from puberty to menopause. These doctors can act as primary care doctors to women because they treat such a wide range of issues. Obstetric duties include care of newborn babies, pregnancy and birth procedures. Gynecology relates to reproductive disorders in women.
OB/GYN doctors provide preventative care to women in the form of gynecological exams, breast and cervix cancer screenings, and Pap smear tests. OB/GYN doctors will also care for pregnant women and help their pregnancies run smoothly.
On the gynecological side, OB/GYNs cover a wide array of care for women's sexual health needs along with women's general health needs. Gynecologists are usually the first point of contact for medical problems like:
- Birth control
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Ovarian cysts and polyps
- Urinary tract infections
- Toxic shock syndrome
- Pelvic pain
Obstetric medicine covers a woman's pregnancy issues from infertility to pregnancy to labor and delivery. Obstetricians provide prenatal care for both women and their babies and will prevent, manage, and treat common complications of pregnancy like gestational diabetes, elevated fetal heart rates, and anemia. Obstetricians will monitor women through their pregnancy through regular sonograms, blood pressure checks, weight checks, and blood samples.
Obstetricians will also help women during labor and delivery, and will monitor the condition of the mother and the baby and will perform medical procedures like labor induction or C-sections when needed. These doctors will treat common birth complications like a fetus that is not positioned for the birth or a baby with the umbilical cord wrapped around its neck.
Obstetricians can also help women with fertility problems and will use lifestyle changes and possibly medication to help couples conceive.
Medical Negligence and OB/GYNs
After neurosurgeons, OB/GYNs are the most frequently sued doctors in the country. Many of these malpractice cases relate to birth injuries. OB/GYN malpractice occurs when these doctors fail to provide a proper standard level of care. Malpractice in the field of obstetrics can have devastating consequences resulting in a baby with cerebral palsy, a woman whose breast or cervical cancer was misdiagnosed or a mistake that leads to a stillbirth.
Common malpractice cases against OB/GYNs include:
- Failure to diagnose a condition in a woman or her baby like preeclampsia
- Failure to anticipate birth complications
- Failure to respond to fetal distress
- Failure to identify an ectopic pregnancy
- Birth injury, including misuse of forceps, asphyxiation, brain damage, and bone fractures
- Failure to order a cesarean section or misuse of a cesarean section
These types of injuries are not only physically and emotionally painful, but can have high financial costs over a lifetime. Birth injuries can take months, years, or a lifetime of extra medical care and treatment for mothers and their babies.
C-sections are also a major form of malpractice for OB/GYNs. Studies show that women in the United States give birth through C-sections at higher rates than most countries. C-sections can be an important, life-saving tool when babies need to be born fast, but when used unnecessarily they expose women to higher risks and prevent the possibility of future natural births.
Patients who suffer injuries from OB/GYNs may be eligible for compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and emotional and physical suffering.
Experienced Maryland Medical Malpractice Attorneys
OB/GYNs bear a high degree of responsibility to the patients they treat. Properly monitoring the health of the mother and child during pregnancy is vital to a healthy life for both.
It is devastating to see a child suffer from a negligent error by a doctor. If your child has suffered serious injuries from an OB/GYN, call our offices today to schedule a free consultation and to begin your case.
Call Gilman & Bedigian today at (800) 529-6162. We will not charge any attorney fees until you get the compensation you deserve.