Despite advances in modern medicine, many American women still die during childbirth every year—and the number is rising. In fact, the rate of women dying during childbirth in the U.S. increased by 26% between 2000 and 2014. While maternal deaths are a risk for many different women in the country, there is no denying that this risk is even greater for women of color. For every 100,000 live births, 40 black women die compared to 12.4 white women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Below, we discuss the systemic factors in the healthcare industry that contribute to these alarming trends.
#1. Unequal Access to Care
Often, labor and delivery complications arise from or are aggravated by preexisting conditions. Many preexisting conditions are made worse by unequal access to health insurance and healthcare.
Those groups of people—often, more low-income individuals—cannot afford health insurance and subsequently do not get medical care as often as they should. As a result, certain conditions could go undiagnosed and worsen. For example, one such condition—high blood pressure—often contributes to preeclampsia, a dangerous condition that affects pregnant women.
#2. Unnecessary C-Sections
A C-section should only be ordered as a last resort, not as a first step. Sadly, however, many healthcare workers decide to order C-sections to speed up a woman’s labor and move on to the next patient. C-sections can lead to complications including hemorrhages and blood clots. Another often unnecessary procedure, a scheduled induction, is associated with higher rates of postpartum hemorrhage, even in low-risk patients.
#3. Discharging Women Too Early
Half of maternal deaths happen after the woman delivers and leaves the hospital postpartum. Many women are discharged from the hospital one or two days after they have given birth in order to make room for new patients. Such early discharges may not give healthcare workers enough time to examine a woman fully and make sure there are no underlying problems from the birth. Sadly, many women experience heart failure, hypertension, and complications from anesthesia after they leave the hospital.
Suffered from Medical Malpractice? Contact Us Today
Healthcare workers have patients’ lives in their hands. It is their responsibility to ensure each and every patient receives adequate care. If you or someone you love suffered from medical malpractice, our Miami attorneys are here to help. We have the experience and resources needed to take on large hospitals and their insurers, and we’re here for you.
Call Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen at (866) 629-1061 to schedule a free consultation.