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U.S. Most Dangerous Place for Mothers To Give Birth

By: Cohen, Placitella & Roth @ Oct 8, 2018

According to statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), about 211 million pregnancies occur every year, and about 123 million of those women ultimately give birth to an infant. Many women who get pregnant in the U.S. and carry to term assume that they are receiving some of the best healthcare in the world.

However, according to a startling report from CBS News, the U.S. is actually the “most dangerous place to give birth in the developed world.” That information comes from a USA Today investigation that determined more than 50,000 pregnant women suffer severe injuries either during or after childbirth, and about 700 of those women die as a result of their injuries. Are these childbirth injuries resulting from medical negligence, and can they be prevented?

More Than Half of All Birth Injuries Are Preventable

According to the investigation, about 50 percent of maternal deaths during childbirth are actually preventable. To be clear, the U.S. should not be the “most dangerous place to give birth in the developed world.”

What is leading to thousands of childbirth injuries every year? In short, as the CBS News report underscores, “hospitals are not following long-known safety measures.” Instead, many medical professionals are relying on their instincts instead of known medical procedures that can prevent injuries. The investigation reported that “medical professionals are often ‘eye-balling’ how much blood a woman loses during childbirth instead of measuring it for warning signs that something’s not right.”

This indicates more doctors and other healthcare providers need to be trained according to safety procedures during childbirth. Safety is not optional in a hospital. According to Alison Young, a USA Today investigative reporter, the news should come as a shock to all Americans, especially pregnant mothers, “given that we’re one of the wealthiest countries in the world and we spend so much on medical care.”

Understanding Childbirth-Related Injuries and How They Can Be Prevented

For many of the 50,000 women who sustain injuries during childbirth every year, the injuries are very serious and often result in lifelong disabilities. The investigation cites severe hypertension and hemorrhaging as the two most frequent injuries among pregnant women who are giving birth.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlights the severity of these injuries, as well as the rate at which they are rising among American women. More specifically, the CDC cites the following types of pregnancy complications and injuries as the most common ones that are serious but can be prevented:

  • Hypertensive disorders;
  • Postpartum hemorrhage;
  • Deep vein thrombosis; and
  • Pulmonary embolism.

Between 1993 and 2014, the rates of hypertension injuries and hemorrhaging during or after childbirth have risen sharply in the U.S. Rather than guessing how much blood a woman is losing during childbirth, or relying on instincts about whether a pregnant woman’s blood pressure is likely to cause injuries, medical professionals need to follow best practices to prevent injuries.

Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you suffered serious injuries during childbirth, you should speak with a medical malpractice attorney about filing a claim. Contact Cohen, Placitella & Roth for more information about how we can help with your case.

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