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Safety of Birth: A Comparative Analysis of the Legal Guarantees in Maternity Care (Belgium — France — The Netherlands)

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The birth process is crucial for the child’s later motor and intellectual development. A broad review of medical liability proceedings in Belgium, France and the Netherlands shows that the chances of a safe birth can be maximised if four conditions are met. Well-educated midwives and obstetricians with sound expertise in foetal heart rate monitoring is the first condition. The second is recognition of an obstetric risk or pathology. The third condition is making the appropriate choice of medical intervention: instrumental or caesarean delivery. Adequate use of the instruments is the last condition. Not answering to these ‘standards of safe birth’ can involve the medical liability of the midwife and obstetrician. In accordance with Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights, Belgium, the Netherlands and France offer procedural guarantees to the parents of an injured baby to determine the liability.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Midwifery, Artevelde University College of Ghent and Law Faculty, Ghent UniversityGhentBelgium


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