The Experience of Litigation From the Perspective of Midwives in Iran

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Abstract

Introduction

Errors and notices to appear in court are a reality of life for many midwives and exert significant effects on both their professional and personal lives. Given the increasing population policies in place, this study was conducted to examine midwives' experiences of litigation in Iran.

Methods

A qualitative study was conducted in 2014 using an interpretive phenomenological approach. The interviews were recorded and transcribed and were then analyzed using the Diekelmann method.

Findings

Midwives who participated had professional experience ranging from 3 to 22 years at the time of the complaints. Five participants had received more than one complaint, and 10 participants were judged as guilty creating/leaving significant effects on various dimensions of their lives.

Conclusion

The present research disclosed four main themes from the interviews including feeling ruined by the complaints, being conflicted between denial and belief, having shattered hopes of release, and experiencing the slowed-down rhythm of midwifery. From these, a basic pattern of “living in despair” was extracted. Litigation is a painful experience for midwives. Anxiety regarding compensation for the patients' losses, public judgment, prolonged litigations, and undermined professional dignity create physical and psychological ramifications for these midwives. Negative feelings about litigation, compounded by the lack of legal support from the authorities, cause a sense of hopelessness regarding the future of the midwifery profession.

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