COVID-19 UPDATE: We are open! Our team is working and offering consultations via phone and e-mail.

Fatal Pregnancies in the United States

Decof, Barry, Mega & Quinn

When people think of hospitals, there is a good chance that someone is picturing disease and illness as well. However, one of the top reasons for hospitalization in the United States surprisingly isn’t associated with sickness but is more connected to life than anything else – pregnancy and childbirth.

Before modern advances in science and medicine, life-threatening complications during childbirth were an expected and accepted risk. Thanks to technological progress, the fatal risks associated with delivering a child aren’t anywhere close to their pre-modern-civilization levels.

Unfortunately, despite living during the height of humanity’s advancement in science and technology, statistics regarding fatal pregnancies strongly suggest that the rate of a mother dying due to childbirth complications is increasing. But what could be the culprit behind this phenomenon? This article explores the concerning trend in medical care regarding maternal deaths in the United States.

Substandard Hospital Care and Operation

Investigations into this issue indicate that the primary factors contributing to the rise in childbirth-related fatalities and injuries involve medical providers who deliver substandard care and treatment. From misdiagnoses, delayed care, and the failure to comply with safety protocols, the medical revolution our predecessors brought about might be slowing down.

It appears that the standard of care in a handful of hospitals has rapidly deteriorated recently. According to an article published by USA TODAY, there were roughly 120 hospitals strongly connected to higher rates of pregnant mothers suffering significant complications during childbirth. Approximately 700 women perish each year during childbirth with 50,000 more suffering from related injuries. About 12 percent of hospitals across the country suffer more than twice the number of childbirth complications all other hospitals encounter.

On a national scale, black mothers are three to four times more at risk of dying due to complications during childbirth than white mothers, suffering significant complications twice as often. Many hospitals blame the mothers, regardless of race, by using buzzwords like “differences in lifestyle,” the “high cost of healthcare,” poor health, and poverty. Yet, despite pregnancy and childbirth consistently ranking among the top reasons people are hospitalized, the U.S. government does not compel hospitals to disclose complication rates concerning childbirth issues.

Even after shifting the focus to childbirth complications experienced by white women, the same 120 hospitals come into frame. Moreover, 56 of those hospitals are training locations for OB/GYN residency programs. Furthermore, 22 of those training hospitals have been cited or placed on probation by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

In fact, most incidences of fatal childbirth consistently involved trainee doctors. It turns out that deadly deliveries often involve doctors in training without supervision by a more experienced licensed physician. Unfortunately, the accreditation requirements regarding the monitoring of trainee doctors are liquid at best.

In one case reported by USA Today, the OB/GYN department of a training hospital was devoid of experienced physicians during a potentially life-threatening procedure. The medical team who was attending to the expecting mother was composed only of students and recently graduated residents – none of whom were licensed to practice medicine on their own.

Systemic Obstacles

Despite mounting allegations that the actual medical care provided by these 120 high-risk hospitals fell below the accepted medical standards, lawsuits for medical malpractice are a rarity. This is due in part to nationwide lobbying efforts which introduced procedural barriers against the initiation of medical malpractice claims while also limiting the dollar amount a medical malpractice plaintiff could ultimately recover in certain states. In those states (unlike Decof, Barry, Mega & Quinn’s home state of Rhode Island), no one can commence a medical malpractice lawsuit without having first submitted their case for review before a medical review panel that typically includes other physicians.

Overcoming these obtsacles is possible. The help of an experienced, knowledgeable and skilled law firm is required, however. We can help.

Consult an Experienced Rhode Island Birth Injury Attorney Today

If you or a loved one has suffered devastating injuries due to complications that arose during childbirth procedures, you might be entitled to recover a legal remedy for your resulting losses. If the pertinent complications resulted from those actions and decisions of your medical provider which fell below the applicable medical standard of care, they might be liable for damages under medical malpractice. At Decof, Barry, Mega & Quinn, P.C. we have the tenacity and skill to help make sure you receive compensation for your injuries.

Call us at (401) 200-4059 or contact us online today to arrange a free consultation about your case today.

Categories: