The road to zero preventable birth injuries

Jt Comm J Qual Patient Saf. 2008 Apr;34(4):201-5. doi: 10.1016/s1553-7250(08)34025-2.


Background: The Seton Family of Hospitals' experience in developing and implementing transformational practices in labor and delivery (L&D) units aimed at reducing the rate of birth trauma at our facilities was previously reported.

Methods: Seton began its individual perinatal safety effort in earnest in October 2003. The endeavor brought together the four hospitals that offer obstetrical services, resulting in the establishment of an interdisciplinary team. The team meets monthly to develop and monitor best practices that are then shared, executed, and validated by each respective site's perinatal councils.

Results: A 36% reduction in the use of vacuum and forceps (from a frequency of 7.4% to 4.7%) was previously reported; the current rate (fiscal year [FY] 2007-FY 2008 year-to-date; July 1, 2006-December 31, 2007) was 4.1%. The incidence of associated birth trauma decreased to 0% for the last 15 months (ending December 31, 2007). During the first three project years (FY 2004-FY 2006), the average length of stay for infants admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit for birth injury declined by 80% (as compared with the previous three years), from 15.8 to 3.1 days.

Discussion: The perinatal safety team developed processes that have resulted in large and sustained reductions in the rate of serious birth trauma at all obstetric facilities.

MeSH terms

  • Awards and Prizes
  • Birth Injuries / epidemiology
  • Birth Injuries / prevention & control*
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Multi-Institutional Systems
  • Organizational Case Studies
  • Patient Care Team
  • Safety Management / methods*
  • Texas / epidemiology