Why are maternal deaths so prevalent in the United States? Given that this country is supposed to be a leader in health care, what kinds of mistakes or errors are resulting in so many pregnant women dying while pregnant or within a year of giving birth?

According to a recent article in The New York Times, “policies and practices” designed to prevent maternal deaths “are well understood,” but they simply are not employed in many healthcare facilities or in many different regions.

The article discusses a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which alarmingly indicates that “the United States could prevent two-thirds of maternal deaths during or within a year of pregnancy.”

Need to Measure and Understand Maternal Death Rates

The first problem, according to the article, is accurately measuring maternal death rates so that they can be better understood. Maternal deaths can have many different causes, from negligent medical care to drug overdoses. Yet not all of those maternal deaths are typically included in case counts.

For instance, the CDC says that there were 17.4 maternal deaths for every 100,000 live births. However, as the article highlights, “this figure does not include maternal deaths from drug overdoses or suicides, so it may be an undercount.”

Assessing Disparities in Different Racial Groups and Regions

We do know that maternal death rates are significantly higher for Black women than they are for white women. Indeed, the CDC reports that the maternal death rate for Black women is 37.1 deaths for every 100,000 live births, and the maternal death rate for white women is 14.7 deaths for every 100,000 live births.

To put that difference in perspective further, “Black women make up about 13% of the female population but account for nearly 40% of maternal deaths.”

Geographic regions also have wide disparities in maternal death rates. Pregnant women who live in rural areas are more likely to die than women who live in urban areas. For many women in rural communities, hospitals are farther away and may not have the same resources as healthcare facilities in urban areas.

How to Reduce Deaths

Maternal deaths occur during pregnancy and in the months that follow giving birth. There are a variety of ways in which maternal deaths can be prevented, from expanded care during pregnancy to improved follow-up care after birth.

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Healthcare providers, outpatient facilities, and hospitals have a duty to put policies in place that prevent medical mistakes and avoidable patient deaths. When it comes to preventable maternal deaths, I want to be certain that we hold doctors and facilities accountable for their mistakes.

Too many pregnant women die as a result of limited or ineffective care, or poorly enacted safety policies. If you or someone you love suffered serious or fatal injuries while pregnant or after giving birth, reach out to me for help.  I’ll Make Them Pay!®

Call my office today at 877.944.4373 to discuss your case and to learn more about your options for seeking financial compensation.

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