Up to 50 percent of maternal deaths are preventable, report finds
The rate of maternal mortality in the U.S. has not decreased in over 25 years. Those who suffer injuries connected to the birth of a child may be eligible for legal remedies.
Medical innovations have helped decrease the risk of injury or death while giving birth, but risks remain. In fact, a recent article in the prestigious journal Obstetrics & Gynecology reports that the maternal mortality ratio has been steadily increasing in the United States since 1987 and that this same ratio has not declined in over 25 years. In addition, a separate report found that up to 50 percent of maternal deaths in the United States, France and the United Kingdom are preventable.
More on maternal mortality
There were 3,358 deaths related to pregnancy between 2006 and 2010. A pregnancy related death is defined as one that occurs within one year of pregnancy and was caused by either a complication connected to the pregnancy, a chain of events that was initiated by the pregnancy or the aggravation of an unrelated condition by the pregnancy. All other deaths that occur to pregnant or postpartum women up to one year following the birth are considered pregnancy associated deaths. There were an additional 5,028 reported pregnancy associated deaths during this same time period.
A number of factors can help decrease the maternal mortality rate. One of the most notable is the importance of early recognition of critical illnesses during the pregnancy, delivery and immediately following the birth.
The role of early recognition
Medical professionals who specialize in obstetrics and gynecology note that early warning systems are needed for timely recognition of hemorrhage, hypertensive crisis, sepsis, venous thromboembolism and heart failure to curb a “concerning pattern of delay in recognition” of these critical illnesses. These professionals also call for increased monitoring of women who have chronic health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes and chronic heart disease while pregnant as these conditions put pregnant women at increased risk.
Remedies available for victims
A failure by a medical professional to properly monitor a pregnancy can lead to injury to both the mother and child. If this failure falls below the acceptable standard of care, a medical malpractice suit is likely available for the victims. These suits are intended to offer the victims two forms of relief: financial and emotional. Financially, an award can provide assistance to cover the costs associated with the injury, such as hospital bills and lost wages as well as potential pain and suffering. Emotionally, the claim can help the victim hold the negligent health care provider responsible for their actions and prevent future harm to other patients.
Those who are suffering from injuries or have lost a loved one due to complications during the birth of a child are wise to seek the counsel of an experienced medical malpractice attorney. Your attorney will review the details of your case and work to better ensure that your rights are protected.
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