Many Ohio Maternal Injuries and Postpartum Fatalities Determined Preventable
Each year in the United States, 700 to 900 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes, and almost 65,000 women suffer severe or near-fatal injuries. This is the worst maternal birth safety record in the developed world, and quite alarming, as many of the deaths are preventable. These traumatic injuries fall within the broader category of Birth Injuries.
American women are more than three times as likely as Canadian women to die from the start of pregnancy to one year after delivery or termination. In every other wealthy country, and many less wealthy nations, maternal mortality rates have been falling.
But in the United States, maternal deaths increased from 2000 to 2014. A recent analysis by the CDC Foundation found nearly 60 percent of such deaths were considered preventable.
Joe Lyon is a highly-rated Cincinnati hospital negligence lawyer and Ohio medical malpractice attorney with experience in birth injuries. Mr. Lyon has represented plaintiffs nationwide in a wide variety of medical negligence, wrongful death and injury claims.
Maternal Injuries & Childbirth Complications
Maternal mortality is more common among African Americans, low-income women and in rural areas, however, childbirth complications kill women of every race and ethnicity around the country.
Many expecting mothers die from cardiomyopathy and other heart problems, hemorrhage, blood clots, infections and pregnancy-induced hypertension (preeclampsia). Some patients die in the days or weeks after leaving the hospital.
High Maternal Injury and Death Rates
An analysis by the CDC Foundation of maternal mortality data identified more than 20 “critical factors” that contribute to pregnancy-related deaths.
The reasons for higher maternal mortality in the U.S. may include several factors, including the following:
- Older mothers have more complex medical histories
- Lack of standardized hospital policies
- Inadequate clinical skills
- Failure to consult specialists
- Poor coordination of care
- More C-sections leads to more life-threatening complications
Medical professionals should be able to prevent most maternal deaths. It is argued that the American medical system is focused more on infant survival than on the mother’s health and well-being.
In fact, at the Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units Network, the preeminent U.S. obstetric research center, only four of the 34 online-listed initiatives target mothers—the other 30 aim to improve the lives of infants.
Placental Abruption Injury
A partial placental abruption occurs when the placenta detaches from the uterus and starts bleeding. It can be difficult to detect when bleeding begins. Placental abruption is most common during the third trimester of pregnancy, and may deprive the fetus of critical nutrients and oxygen.
This condition can cause fetal distress as well maternal injuries. Doctors must monitor pregnant patient carefully, or they may be negligent in failing to diagnose and treat placental abruption cases.
Placental abruptions are usually associated with abdominal trauma, though certain women may be predisposed to placental abruption if they have high blood pressure, diabetes, or autoimmune diseases. Around 15 percent of severe placental abruption cases end in death, and others result in birth injury and maternal injuries.
Uterine Rupture Malpractice
Uterine rupture cases occurs when there is a breach in the mother’s womb. Uterine rupture can occur in a uterus with no scarring, but is more commonly seen in women who have pre-existing uterine scars.
When a uterine rupture is discovered, an emergency cesarean section is necessary to remove the baby, and to prevent harm to both child and mother. A child may be deprived of oxygen and a mother may suffer from internal bleeding.
Risk factors of uterine ruptures include scars from previous cesarean sections, and also various medications. Cervical ripening drugs like Pitocin and Cervidil can cause of uterine ruptures and placental abruptions.
Postpartum Malpractice & Maternal Deaths
Experts are concerned with the gap between maternal and fetal and infant care. Mary D’Alton, chair of OB-GYN at Columbia University Medical Center, claims there is a lack of training at medical facilities. She says some doctors complete their maternal-fetal medicine training without spending time in a labor and delivery unit.
In maternity wards, babies are monitored more closely than mothers during and after birth. Newborns in the slightest danger are carried to intensive care units, staffed by highly trained specialists, while the mothers are lightly tended to by nurses and doctors, often unprepared for worst case scenarios.
When new mothers are discharged, they routinely receive information about how to breastfeed, but less likely to receive any information on how to tell if they need medical attention.
Pregnancy-Related Deaths Preventable
Preeclampsia, one of the leading causes of maternal death, is a type of high blood pressure that occurs in pregnancy or the postpartum period, and may lead to seizures and strokes.
In developed countries, preeclampsia is considered highly treatable. It is simply important to act quickly, and prevent complications. Medical staff in the U.S. has not excelled in preventing poor results. Whereas Britain has reduced preeclampsia deaths to a total of two deaths from 2012 to 2014, in the U.S. preeclampsia still accounts for 50 to 70 deaths a year.
Below are the other primary causes for maternal injuries and death, some of which are preventable with the right medical care:
- Preeclampsia & Eclampsia
- Postpartum Malpractice
- Air Embolism
- Cardiovascular & Coronary Conditions
Maternal Injuries Lawsuits
The Ohio standard of care requires nurses, doctors and your OB/GYN to detect complications before, during and after childbirth. If an OB/GYN or other medical staff is negligent and fails to properly diagnose serious medical conditions and a birth injury results, a delivery medical malpractice lawsuits may be considered.
If you or a loved one suffered a fatal or near-fatal birth injury, involving the mother or child, and have questions about the legal remedies available to improve quality of life and medical care in Ohio, contact The Lyon Firm at (800) 513-2403. You will speak directly with Mr. Lyon, and he will help you answer critical questions regarding maternal injuries and postpartum deaths.