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Is Warren County's 1:3568 OB-GYN ratio good indication of care?

There is approximately one OB-GYN per 3,568 female residents in Warren County. Hamilton County has one for every 2,152 female residents, and Montgomery County has one for every 3,129 women. Some counties do not have any, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

Is a high OB-GYN to female resident ratio a good indication of care? It seems to be the message behind a recent news release from the office of Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown. The press release concerned Brown’s plan for increasing the level of maternal care for women who live in areas with little or no immediate access to an OB-GYN.

It is safe to assume that better care equates to a lower risk for birth injuries, but we ask again, is the ratio a good indicator? Some critics say no. While it may be important, it is only one of myriad factors. In addition, the numbers may not be entirely accurate. The ACOG even admits that there are some limitations to their information.

As for the data itself, assuming the numbers are true, some statistics are contradictory. For instance, Holmes and Lawrence counties reportedly have zero OB-GYNs providers in the area. When it comes to health rankings, Holmes is one of the best and Lawrence is one of the worst. In Holmes County, family physicians provide most prenatal care.

Whether you have a family physician or OB-GYN overseeing your pregnancy and labor, your physician is capable of negligence or making mistakes. The court determines negligence in birth injury claims based on the “reasonable person similarly situated” standard. Would a reasonable physician have made the same choices? Would he or she have referred your case to another doctor?

Source: Cleveland.com, “OB-GYNs: Why more doctors in a community doesn’t always mean healthier pregnancy, babies,” Brie Zeltner, April 11, 2015

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