by HGD Staff
America boasts one of the best healthcare systems in the world, but despite our claims of world-class healthcare, our maternal death rates are among the worst in the industrialized world. This may come as a shock, but it is a fact. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) tracks data across the globe, and based on 2015 figures, the U.S. had approximately 14 maternal deaths per 100,000 child births.
The CIA reports 45 countries with better maternal outcomes than the U.S. Here are just some of those countries that have lower maternal death rates:
- United Kingdom
- United Arab Emirates
- Saudi Arabia
So, what is the problem? Why do so many American women die each year during birth? The answer may be as simple as negligence.
Understanding Hospital and Healthcare Negligence
There are many ways that a hospital can go wrong during labor and delivery, but in a recent report from USA Today, it was revealed that two specific precautions may be widely ignored in birthing rooms across the country.
High blood pressure during delivery can lead to the mother suffering a stroke, also called a cerebrovascular accident (CVA). But strokes are relatively easy to predict and prevent in this context, at least as long as healthcare workers are doing the right thing.
Second, rapid blood loss can lead to shock, which, in turn, can cause death, paralysis, hypoxia, brain damage, and other serious conditions. Prevention starts with weighing absorbent padding measuring blood loss during labor and delivery. The sooner that excess blood loss can be identified, the sooner hospital staff and doctors can take fast actions to prevent the consequences.
But this is just the beginning. Maternal death rates are just that – the rates at which mothers die giving birth. These numbers do not take into account the many types of non-fatal injuries that women suffer. For instance, USA Today’s report also shed light on the fact that upwards of 50,000 women are severely injured during labor each year.
Causes of Maternal Injuries and Death
The causes of preventable maternal injury and death are fairly straightforward. In about half of all the cases, it can be attributed to a simple step or procedure that was simply not followed. Examples of these negligent actions may include:
- Failing to monitor blood pressure
- Failing to measure blood loss
- Ignoring signs of fetal distress early in delivery
- Waiting too long to notify physicians and specialists
- Failing to administer the correct medications when needed
The Price Americans Pay for Poor Maternal Care
It is practically impossible to truly measure the harm caused by careless healthcare professionals and large corporate hospital chains that put money over patient safety. Depending on the unique situation, many families suffer losses, such as:
- The loss of the woman’s income in the family
- Loss of the woman’s services to the household
- Medical bills and expenses
- Unexpected funeral and burial expenses
- A spouse may be forced to put children into daycare or hire a full-time nanny as a result of the loss
- Emotional losses, like having to explain to young children the loss of a parent
Victims’ Rights After a Fatal Childbirth Event
For the surviving family members, like spouses, children, and even parents of a woman who is killed during childbirth, there can be significant monetary compensation available, and rightfully so. Sadly, large hospital corporations and their insurance carriers often fight hard to avoid all liability, even when it is clear to everyone involved that the death was completely avoidable. If you find yourself grieving the loss of a loved one who died during childbirth, you do not have to stand by and accept the story you are given. You have the right to speak with an attorney free of charge and get real legal options to help your family move forward and pay for the unexpected and unfair expenses you will no doubt face.
At Heninger Garrison Davis, LLC, our attorneys have decades of experience pursuing justice for injured people and survivors who have lost loved ones due to terrible medical errors. Call or visit our firm online to schedule a free consultation today, and find out how we can help.