The U.S. has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the industrialized world. Every year 700 to 900 American mothers die due to pregnancy and childbirth. However, these often preventable deaths are statistically overshadowed the rapid rise in maternal complications.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 50,000 expectant and new mothers endure painful and life-threatening birthing complications every year in the United States. These women face issues that leave them in pain, unable to bear more children and in deep debt. They suffer horrible complications due to hemorrhages, organ failure and other issues. Not only are complications traumatizing for birthing mothers, but the cost for these women, the national health care system and taxpayers exceeds billions of dollars.
Complication rates have doubled
A special series by NPR and ProPublica sheds light on the fact that conditions are only getting worse for birthing mothers. The rate of serious complications has more than doubled over the past two decades. There has been a massive rise in women who require blood transfusions, breathing tubes, treatment for sepsis, and emergency hysterectomies due to bleeding or infection.
Increased likelihood of complications are often due to the rising average age and levels of obesity in pregnant American women. However, the quality of medical care makes matters much worse. Better care from physicians and nurses can help identify treatable conditions and help them from worsening to life-threatening problems. Medical staff often fails to recognize distress signals and symptoms in women during childbirth and after.
California takes the lead for seeking improvement
California is one of the few states in the nation that is tackling this issue head-on. The California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative is a national leader in their efforts to improve maternal care in hospitals. Additionally, women who experience inadequate medical care can turn to legal recourse for justice.
Any mother who has been injured due to completely preventable complications during or after childbirth should contact an attorney. They may qualify for compensation to cover the pain, suffering and financial burden of inadequate medical care.