CHATANOOGA, Tennessee. In recent years, more women have been dying from pregnancy and childbirth complications. According to a recent mortality report published by Time Magazine, the U.S. has a higher mortality rate than Iran, Libya, and Turkey. The World Health Report indicates that half of the pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. could have been prevented. Why are more women suffering personal injuries and deaths after giving birth?
Time reported several areas of concern, notably that more women are obese when they give birth and that access to quality maternal health care is inconsistent. Research has also shown that racial disparities are present in the number of women who die from preeclampsia. While minority women are not more likely to develop the condition, they remain more likely to die from its symptoms. Preeclampsia is characterized by high blood pressure, but it can lead to life-threatening symptoms including Eclampsia or HELLP syndrome if not properly treated when symptoms initially develop.
Another contributing factor leading to maternal death are unnecessary C-Sections. Not all C-sections are required and, in many cases, a natural birth is best. Finally, another reason why women may be dying is the fact that more women are having children when they are older. Proper prenatal care and good quality care during delivery can prevent death or injury to the mother.
Yet, when doctors fail to catch internal bleeding or symptoms of preeclampsia, mothers can die. The New York Times recently reported on a mother who died shortly after giving birth. The family is seeking a wrongful death claim for medical negligence.
NPR also reports that a focus on the infant after labor sometimes results in women not getting the care they may need and deserve. While fetal care has improved greatly, with ICUs for premature babies and teams of doctors on hand to offer newborns comprehensive medical care, new mothers may not be as closely monitored. Their pain may not always be taken seriously, and as a result, they may not always get the urgent treatment that they need. Doctors and nurses may also assume that a mother will be fine after birth, and may miss warning signs when a mother needs urgent interventions. In fact, of the 4 core measures established by the Joint Commission, only one of the measures addresses the health and safety of the mother.
At the end of the day, new mothers may have to advocate for themselves. Know your body and be prepared to demand care if you feel like something isn’t right. Understand some of the risk factors and their symptoms. Sadly, even in cases where the mother’s husband was a doctor, the patient still died because his concerns—and hers—were not taken seriously.
Finally, if you or a loved one suffered a personal injury or complications due to the negligence or neglect of your medical provider, you may want to pursue a claim. Maternal death and injury is only now becoming a more publicized issue and more claims may help raise awareness. Attorneys Greer, Swafford, & Adams are personal injury lawyers in Chattanooga, Tennessee who work closely with individuals who have been hurt due to another person or party’s negligence or neglect. Contact our firm at http://www.stephentgreer.com/ to learn more about your options and rights.