Expecting mothers in Montana have every right to get excellent care when they go into the hospital to give birth. However, women across the United States are facing an ongoing increase in maternal death and injury in childbirth. This is in striking contradiction to the global trend in other developed countries. While the maternal mortality and injury rate has dropped significantly in most developed countries, it has continued to rise in the United States. Each year, around 50,000 mothers are injured during childbirth while another 700 lose their lives.
One report found that roughly half of America’s maternity deaths and injuries could have been prevented if the mothers had received swift, appropriate care. The study found that the most common complications experienced during childbirth were high blood pressure and extreme blood loss. Of the deaths caused by hypertension, 60 percent could have been prevented with earlier medical action. Of those caused by hemorrhaging, 90 percent could have been avoided with proper treatment when the problem started. In order to reduce the risk of maternal mortality, doctors should administer medication earlier in the process and measure blood loss during delivery.
While the protocol for women with high blood pressure urges treatment within 60 minutes, most of the hospitals in the study do not actually track the timing of hypertension treatment for women in childbirth. While regulators like the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services require tracking and reporting of hip and knee surgeries, no reporting is required for childbirth complications.
Many women expect the period after childbirth to be a time of celebration, but in the case of maternal mortality and injury, it can be a time of pain and sorrow. Mothers who have been injured in childbirth due to a doctor error can speak with a medical malpractice attorney about the potential to pursue compensation for damages.