How Do I Tell If My Obstetrical Staff Is Experienced?

In this video, ABC Law Centers partner and birth injury attorney Rebecca Walsh walks expectant parents through how to understand the varying levels of doctor and resident experience in the Labor and Delivery Unit.


Hi, I’m Rebecca Walsh, I’m a partner at Reiter & Walsh. I’ve been doing birth injury and medical malpractice cases for 25 years, and I’m going to talk to you about what you might expect when you go into the hospital for the labor and delivery of your child. When most of us go to the hospital, a nurse sees us first, and then we’re taken to a room and various doctors come in. It’s important that when the doctors come in that you look on their name badge to see if it says they’re a resident or an attending physician. An attending physician is a full-time, fully trained doctor. A resident is somebody who has been through medical school but who does not have on-the-job training yet. So residents usually, in hospitals, are either a first-, second-, or third-year resident. Obviously a first year resident means they have less than one year of experience working in labor and delivery. You also want to see what specialty the resident is because sometimes emergency medicine residents, internal medicine residents, and family practice residents will also rotate through OB/GYN and will have very little experience delivering babies. You have the right, as a patient, to have an attending physician take care of you. If you have residents coming in, you should ask them questions, and if you’re not satisfied, feel free to ask for an attending physician. Because that’s your right.