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Maternal Deaths and Injuries in U.S. Hospitals

The Donnelly Law Firm

Historically, childbirth has been depicted as a dangerous, life-threatening experience, but with all of the advances in modern medicine throughout the last few decades, one would think women now enjoy safer, more welcoming birth experiences. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. In fact, the rate of maternal deaths during child birth is on the rise in the United States. According to several statistics, and an investigation by USA Today, childbirth is still as dangerous as ever.

Although women are encouraged to trust hospitals and medical staff implicitly with their care during and after their child’s birth, evidence suggests that those very healthcare professionals who are supposed to be helping new mothers might be the very ones who cause them harm.

Global Maternal Death Statistics: How Does the U.S. Compare?

The USA Today investigation found evidence that roughly 700 women die each year in United States hospitals during childbirth, and more than 50,000 experience serious birth complications. These numbers are upsetting enough on their own, but they become even more disturbing when one realizes that these death rates are higher than any other country in the developed world. In fact, according to data presented by the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, 14 U.S. women die during childbirth to every 100,000 documented live births. These statistics include any cause of death associated with an “aggravated pregnancy,” including poor prenatal care, medical mistakes, birth complications, and so on.

Comparatively, the UK, Germany, France, Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, Ireland, and Italy all experienced far fewer maternal deaths than the United States. According to the Global Burden of Disease Study in 2015, the mortality rate for women in the United States is double, if not triple, that of other developed countries. In fact, the rate of maternal mortality has risen significantly in the past two decades, while maternal deaths have decreased nearly everywhere else.

What Causes Maternal Deaths in the United States?

For underdeveloped countries, maternal death is usually caused by a lack of hygiene, poor healthcare, and other dangers associated with rural environments. However, in the United States, maternal deaths are much more closely related to medical mistakes, lack of preparation, and improper protocol than anything else. During their investigation, USA Today found that only 15% of women who experience an emergency during childbirth receive quick, recommended treatments. This lack of preparation isn’t just dangerous, it’s deadly. Many of these complications include hemorrhages and high blood pressure issues, and data tells us that nearly 90% of hemorrhage deaths and 60% of deaths caused by hypertension could be prevented with better medical care.

Perhaps the most appalling thing of all is that few hospitals have the necessary data on maternal deaths to accurately track the maternal mortality rate. And, there are several states that also fail to scrutinize the quality and type of medical care that surrounded the maternal deaths that are reported. With this type of poor record-keeping and loose reporting strategies, it’s no wonder the mortality rate is climbing.

Let Our Firm Help You

If you or your child suffered injuries during childbirth, such as HIE or cerebral palsy, our firm is prepared to help you seek justice and compensation. We understand how traumatizing these types of incidents are and we are here to ensure your concerns have a voice. We also represent families who have lost new mothers during childbirth because of negligent doctors, poor hospital care, medical mistakes, and other similar issues. If you think you have a birth injury case or a wrongful death claim, we want to help.

Do you have a case? Contact The Donnelly Law Firm to discuss your situation with our attorneys.

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