A USA Today report claims the U.S. is the “most dangerous place to give birth in the developed world.” They explained how women are incurring life-changing injuries amid childbirth due to hospital safety failures. The number of maternal fatalities has been slowly climbing, approximately half of which are preventable. Their current annual estimate is roughly 50,000 injuries and 700 deaths, which are attributed to delivery errors or complications that are recognized post-delivery.
Compared to Other Countries
The majority of developed countries are averaging less than 10 deaths per 100,000 births. From 1990 to 2015 the U.S. rate has risen from approximately 17 to 26 fatalities per 100,000 births. This problem exists despite our large percentage of spending on medical care. Many feel this pattern is attributed to a lack of uniform medical practices among physicians and hospitals. For example, many doctors and nurses adhere to methods of treatment that they learned in their training decades earlier.
Over 90% of women have some health concern during pregnancy; therefore, obtaining quality prenatal care is critical. Many of the common problems stem from when hospitals fail to recognize the quantity of blood lost and complications that are associated with high blood pressure (hypertension). Roughly 90% of deaths that relate to a hemorrhage are preventable. Some other common problems that occur include slowed labor and cephalopelvic disproportion, which is where the head of the baby does not fit through the birth canal. Mothers who suffer from diabetes or anemia are at greater risk for delivery-related problems.
At the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City, it was determined that the mothers experienced hemorrhaging at a rate of greater than three times the national average. Dr. Erin Clark, their director of maternal medicine, says that the facility recognized the pattern and made some changes. They adopted a set of practices established by California experts in the AIM program, which led to over a 30% drop in hemorrhaging related problems.
Many hospitals with high rates of maternal complications are quick to attribute their failures as being associated with their many “higher-risk” patients rather than their processes and procedures. Unfortunately, hospitals across the country have been slow to adopt improved practices such as those in California. Their advocacy initiatives have led to approximately a 50% decline in maternal fatalities. The American Journal of OB/GYN reported that hemorrhage-related problems in the state are 21% lower.
These birth-related errors create a significant financial burden. It is possible that the injuries can have damaging long-term effects such as costs for continued medication, losses in income and costs associated with specialized rehabilitation. Often when the injured party does not have adequate insurance coverage the U.S. taxpayer ends up paying for the much-needed care of the victim of malpractice.
Importance of Legal Representation
Proving a case of medical negligence associated with childbirth is often challenging. Your choice in legal representation may be a critical decision in whether your case is successful. Be sure to seek an experienced birth injury attorney with the resources and knowledge necessary to aggressively pursue retribution.