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Maternal Death Rates Increase in the US Partially Due to Medical Malpractice

Published: Jul 14, 2017 in Medical Malpractice, Wrongful Death

The U.S. has watched its maternal mortality rate continuously increase in the past decade. Nearly every year, 700 to 900 women die due to pregnancy or childbirth-related medical issues and approximately 65,000 women are seriously injured. It is the worst maternal death rate among developed nations, and it is getting worse. A woman in America is now three times more likely to pass away during pregnancy or from birth than a woman in Canada and six times more likely to die as a result of pregnancy or birth as a woman in a Scandinavian country.

There are a number of reasons why pregnant women and mothers are passing away, and it is not because pregnancy or birth is becoming more dangerous or difficult. One of the main culprits for the nation’s rising maternal mortality rate is medical malpractice. Improper training, lack of preparedness, carelessness, and other factors are leading American women to receive negligent care, resulting in significant injury or their death.

If you lost your wife or daughter due to pregnancy or birth complications, contact our medical malpractice attorneys of Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. as soon as possible. Your loved one’s death may have been preventable. If so, you have the right to hold the negligent party responsible and seek compensation for your loss. Call us today at (205) 933-1500.

Reasons for the Rising Maternal Death Rate

The U.S. is the only industrialized nation who has a rising maternal death rate. All other similarly developed nations are keeping steady or reducing the number of expectant and new mother’s deaths. Yet why is the U.S. doing so poorly for a medical condition that has been around since the beginning of time and we know so much about? This is a question many researchers and investigators are trying to answer.

Journalists Renee Montagne from NPR and Nina Martin from ProPublica conducted a six-month long investigation into the U.S. maternal mortality rate. They found:

  • Many hospitals, including those with intensive care units for newborns, were significantly unprepared for maternal emergencies.
  • Hospital protocols regarding potentially fatal pregnancy and birth complications are incredibly varied, enabling preventable and treatable conditions to become fatal.
  • Newborn children are monitored more closely than mothers during and after birth.
  • Physicians in the US can enter the maternal-fetal medicine specialty without training in a labor-delivery unit.
  • Only 6 percent of federal and state block grants from 2016, marked for maternal and child health, were actually spent toward mothers’ health.
  • A higher rate of C-sections leads to a greater risk of life-threatening complications.
  • The U.S. healthcare and insurance system makes it difficult for mothers to receive the prenatal and post-birth care they need.

American Physicians Are Not Properly Addressing Known Risks like Preeclampsia

A common reason pregnant women and new mothers are injured or die during or after birth is from preeclampsia, which is a form of high blood pressure that occurs during pregnancy and the postpartum period. It can lead to organ damage, most commonly to the liver and kidneys, seizures, strokes, and death. Preeclampsia is a serious medical condition that causes millions of deaths around the world despite the fact that it is highly treatable.

Britain has managed to reduce preeclampsia deaths to one in a million women. The nation saw only two preeclampsia deaths in 2012 to 2014. However, the U.S. has not similarly addressed this issue. The condition makes up 8 percent of maternal deaths in the nation. Up to 70 women are killed each year in the U.S. because of preeclampsia.

The reasons for this, again, are varied. The U.S. has different standards for when to monitor a pregnant woman or new mother for preeclampsia than Britain. Physicians and nurses may not be as well trained in spotting preeclampsia early on and treating it as quickly as possible. While the U.S. medical community has known as preeclampsia for decades and how to treat it, it still goes undiagnosed too often.

Do You Question Your Wife or Child’s Care? Contact Our Lawyers Today

If you believe your daughter or wife received negligent care during her pregnancy, childbirth, or postpartum period, contact our experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C. immediately. Very often hospitals and physicians will treat a pregnant woman or new mother’s death as an unavoidable tragedy. In truth, a maternal death is almost always preventable. It simply requires doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals to provide a high standard of care.

At Belt, Bruner, & Barnett P.C., we are ready to investigate your loved one’s death to determine if medical malpractice is at fault for your loss. If there is evidence that negligence caused your loved one’s death, we will aggressively represent you in holding the facility and doctor responsible and obtaining the compensation you deserve.

Contact us online or call us at (205) 933-1500 to schedule a free case evaluation.