A 31-year-old black woman died after her daughter was born by emergency C-Section. The hospital is under investigation over family allegations that the medical and nursing staff ignored the woman’s complaints of pain before she died.
Three surprising facts about maternal mortality
It’s hard to imagine something sadder than a baby whose mom dies around childbirth. Yet, this happens around 700 times each year in the United States.
Here are three disturbing facts that you should know about maternal mortality:
• Black women have a 3-times greater risk than white women of dying during childbirth.
• The United States has the highest maternal mortality rate (death rate of moms during pregnancy, childbirth, or the first few weeks after birth) in the industrialized world. And the numbers seem to get worse every year.
• If Texas were a country, it would have the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world.
Causes of pregnancy-related deaths
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), the most common causes of pregnancy-related deaths are:
• Cardiovascular conditions
• Infection or sepsis
• Hemorrhage (bleeding)
• Thrombotic pulmonary or other embolism
• Cerebrovascular accidents
• Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (preeclampsia and eclampsia)
• Amniotic fluid embolism
• Anesthesia complications
Failure to monitor after delivery
In our experience in handling many birth-related medical malpractice cases, the likely culprit in cases where the mother had died is a failure to monitor the mother after labor and delivery.
The World Health Organization (WHO) noted that:
• Hemorrhaging can be managed by timely administration of medications immediately after childbirth.
• Infection risk can be reduced with good hygiene practices and vigilant monitoring to identify the early signs of infection.
• Pre-eclampsia management requires staff training to watch out for convulsions (eclampsia), which require immediate medical attention. WHO recommends consideration of drugs like magnesium sulfate to lower the risk.
Labor and delivery units are busy places. Physicians and nursing personnel have two patients to care for in each room: a mother and a baby.
Hospital leaders need to ensure adequate staffing levels, as well as policies and procedures and training to ensure that the entire labor and delivery team healthcare team is ready to recognize and act on life-threatening emergencies.
If you or someone you care for has been seriously injured because of maternal death or injury in Texas, then contact a top-rated, experienced Texas medical malpractice attorney for a free strategy session about your potential case.