The concept of "failure to rescue" (failure to recognize, or act upon, early signs of distress) was first introduced in the 1990s as a measure of hospital performance in the care of the adult postsurgical patient population. This concept has only recently been applied to obstetrics.

Careful surveillance, timely identification of complications, appropriate interventions, and activating a team response, which are the four essential components of the rescue process, serve as the basis for application of failure to rescue in the perinatal setting. Evaluating the rescue process during labor when the FHR pattern is nonreassuring can be used as an indicator of fetal safety.

This is exactly what happens during a homebirth. There is no sufficient rescue team available during a homebirth, so "failure to rescue" baby and mother is a typical event when there is fetal, neonatal, or maternal distress. 

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