Hospitals trending toward laborists for births

According to Kaiser Health News, a growing trend for hospitals is to keep laborists on staff at the hospital to oversee childbirth as well as gynecological and obstetrical emergencies.

Part of the reason for this is to decrease any potential medical risks, as having a laborist always present decreases the response time of obstetricians to emergency situations. The downside is that expectant mothers may have their newborns delivered by doctors with whom they are completely unfamiliar.

Some hospitals only staff laborists on weekend and night shifts, while others keep them on 24-hour rotations. Having a laborist on duty has reduced the Cesarean-section rates in some hospitals as well as decreasing the number of elective early deliveries prior to the 39th week.

The situation is ideal for those obstetricians who are content to be salaried employees as opposed to the hassles of maintaining a practice. Hospitals see it as a way to prevent medical malpractice claims and satisfy their obstetrical patients who will never have to worry that an obstetrician will be miles away during a childbirth emergency.

Florida’s Sarasota Memorial Hospital chief of obstetrics and gynecology said that the “generational shift [of] modern physicians who.. want a better work-life balance” is part of the reason for the hospitalist program, as it gives physicians more personal freedom.

Regardless of the benefits to the hospitals, when it comes to the births of their children, parents want only top-notch medical teams and treatments. If your child was injured at birth by a delivery presided over by a laborist, you may wish to seek legal counsel about filing a medical malpractice claim.

Source:, “Increasing trend toward use of ‘laborists’ in hospitals,” Aug. 05, 2015