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ACOG: Caesarean Rate Rises As Malpractice Premiums Soar

Study explores experience of Connecticut institution

TUESDAY, May 6 (HealthDay News) -- Rising medical malpractice premiums may be related to increasing rates of Caesarean delivery and declining rates of operative vaginal delivery at a Connecticut hospital between 1991 and 2005, according to research findings presented at the 56th Annual Clinical Meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists held this week in New Orleans.

Jeffrey V. Spencer, M.D., of the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, and colleagues reviewed the perinatal database of a single tertiary care hospital between 1991 and 2005 to obtain data on mode of delivery and correlated findings with yearly changes in malpractice rates. Rates of operative vaginal delivery declined from a peak of 24.9 percent in 1992 to 8 percent of total deliveries in 2005, while mean malpractice premiums increased from $50,345 to $126,806 during the same period.

In a related study, the researchers investigated the relationship between Caesarean delivery rates and malpractice premiums at the same institution. Twenty-three percent of the 64,767 deliveries occurring between 1991 and 2005 were Caesarean deliveries, and the investigators found an association with increased Caesarean delivery rates and rising malpractice premiums.

"At our institution, mean malpractice rates and Caesarean delivery rates have increased from 1999 to 2005. Our data suggest a relationship between the increased malpractice rates and an increase in primary and repeat Caesarean delivery rates," the authors conclude.

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