Childbirth: More Dangerous in the US than other Developing Countries
Why are mothers in the United States experiencing traumatic pregnancy and post-partum problems in startlingly higher rates than other developed countries? This shocking statistic has recently come to light, and over the past year, NPR and ProPublica have been investigating this disturbing trend.
According to the NPR/ProPublica investigation, for every American woman who dies during childbirth, there are seventy women that nearly die due to major complications. According to the CDC, more than 50,000 women per year suffer severe maternal morbidity. Morbidity means injury or disease falling short of death. These are serious statistics.
Severe Maternal Morbidity
Severe Maternal Morbidity is a term that means that a mother suffered a significant injury or illness but did not die in the process of birth. Examples of severe morbidity include things like infertility, damage to various organs, heart attacks, and even brain damage.
Why is Severe Maternal Morbidity so high in the US?
Increased severe maternal morbidity can be attributed to several factors. Some experts say that American women are giving birth at older ages and are more likely to have problematic conditions like obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Another factor is that medical professionals are not always taking their patients’ concerns seriously. One woman, who wrote into NPR/ProPublica after they sent a call out for examples of maternal morbidity, told a harrowing story of her doctor’s indifference.
She was hemorrhaging quite heavily and knew something wasn’t right. Her concerns were essentially ignored. When she finally got an appointment with her doctor, she had lost half of the blood in her body. While her obstetrician declined to comment on this story, a pathology report showed a diagnosis of placental site vessel subinvolution (VSI) – meaning her enlarged blood vessels that provided nutrition and oxygen to the developing fetus had failed to return to their pre-pregnancy state. VSI easily can be detected with a scan. Unfortunately, this unnecessary, life-threatening situation resulted in a hysterectomy for this first-time mother.
Horrific stories like these are becoming more and more common. Maternal morbidity diagnoses often cause physical and emotional trauma, resulting in ongoing anxiety or even PTSD, posttraumatic stress disorder.
And, while the medical implications can be devastating, so can the financial burden to the patient and the healthcare system. According to NPR/ProPublica, the financial impact of maternal morbidity is likely in the billions of dollars per year.
After surviving these traumas, many mothers cannot find justice, as it is often difficult to find a competent medical malpractice lawyer to take the case. All these severe maternal morbidity cases have created billions of dollars in costs for mothers around the country. These new moms and their families need and deserve compensation, provided that the morbidity is the result of someone’s negligence.
If you have suffered from severe maternal morbidity, we can help.
Here at the Eisen Law Firm, our Ohio medical malpractice attorneys are committed to holding doctors accountable for their failure to protect their patients. If you or a loved one have been a victim of such negligence, call our experienced Cleveland malpractice lawyers today to discuss your options for legal recourse and for obtaining the compensation you deserve. To schedule your free consultation, call 216-687-0900 or contact us online today.