Reports Show Healthcare in America Lags for Mothers
It may come as shocking to some that the U.S., a nation considered to be among the leaders in technology, medicine, and other scientific fields, fails in many ways when it comes to healthcare for pregnant women. An opinion piece in the New York Times reports that care for mothers lags far behind other advanced countries, including the U.K., Japan, and Germany, in such areas as prenatal care and childbirth. In fact, the U.S. as a whole has the highest rate of maternal mortality among other first-world nations, though the statistics on individual states vary considerably. While some of the blame may fall on a disorganized healthcare system and lack of healthcare for certain at-risk women, there are also many health issues that arise due to medical errors during pregnancy.
Noteworthy Statistics on Healthcare for Mothers
Medical care for pregnant women is critical, as the time from conception to birth has an impact on the health of both the mother and fetus. Still, statistics reveal that issues during pregnancy have severe consequences:
- There are an estimated 700-900 deaths related to pregnancy and childbirth every year in the U.S.;
- Within this group of fatalities, the ages range from 16-43;
- From 2009 to 2013, the average number of pregnancy-related deaths per 100,000 births is 17.1; and,
- Causes of death include hemorrhage, infection, complications due to pre-existing medical conditions, and medical errors.
Medical Errors Remain a Problem
Because medical mistakes during pregnancy continue to be a factor in maternal injuries and fatalities, it’s important to understand what type of errors are most common.
- Failure to Diagnose or Misdiagnosis: If a doctor doesn’t recognize the symptoms of a serious problem during pregnancy, there are serious implications for both the mother and fetus. A delay in making a diagnosis may lead to premature labor, stroke, blood pressure issues, and other medical conditions. One critical health issue arises when a pregnant woman develops gestational diabetes, which she never had before conception.
- Improper Monitoring During Childbirth: It’s critical to monitor the vital signs of both mother and baby during delivery, so a physician can take action as necessary to protect the health of both. Failure to monitor means childbirth problems go undetected, sometimes until it’s too late.
- Delays in Performing C-Section: For a number of reasons, a C-Section may become necessary during childbirth even where the mother prefers natural delivery. Fetal distress, a tangled umbilical cord, respiratory issues may force a physician to perform a C-Section for the health of the mother and baby. Failure or delays in ordering this procedure may lead to severe injury or death.
Seek Compensation for Your Losses
Victims of pregnancy-related medical errors do have rights to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering; in the unfortunate event that you lost a loved one as a result of a mistake, you may also have a claim for your devastating losses. If you have questions about your situation, please contact the offices of Cohen, Placitella & Roth. Our Philadelphia medical malpractice attorneys can schedule a free consultation to review your case and provide more information on your options.