It’s about time – Way too Many Moms are Dying During Labor and Delivery
A USA Today series that discovered just how dangerous delivering a baby can be for a mother at many hospitals in the United States has led to new safety standards that will be required by many hospitals. These procedures are a long time coming and attempt to focus on “best practices to prevent harm.”
“Deadly Deliveries,” the series, sought to answer why each year in the United States, 700 women die and 50,000 women suffer serious harm as a result of childbirth complications. In fact, the percentage of maternal deaths per 100,000 births in the U.S. was the highest of the top six developed countries. Even more concerning, the other five countries have all reduced the percentage of deaths to less than 10 per 100,000, while the United States’ death rate has increased to 26.4.
Perhaps the biggest finding of the investigation is that many of these deaths and injuries are preventable. And the Joint Commission, the organization that “provides oversight to about 70% of U.S. hospitals by ensuring they have voluntarily met quality standards,” has determined that there are several steps that hospitals and health care providers need to take so that the United States no longer will be the most dangerous place in the developed world to deliver a baby.
Call to Action for Hospitals – Maternal Injury and Death Often Can Be Avoided
Postpartum hemorrhage and preeclampsia are two of the top causes of “preventable maternal death and injury.”
Letitia Stein reported on the changes that hospitals will be making.
In the case of excessive bleeding, they include:
- Keeping life-saving medications immediately accessible
- Planning for the rapid release of blood for transfusions
- Being stocked with supplies to stop bleeding
- Having doctors and nurses undergo training to prepare them to respond to a crisis
- Assessing every patient’s risk (this standard addresses the findings that black mothers are three times more likely to die following childbirth)
There are also detailed standards that address high blood pressure.
Hospitals that do not comply by July 1, 2020 run the risk of losing their Joint Commission accreditation.
It’s about time – Putting Patient Care at the Forefront
These changes are cause for optimism, but at the same time, they also underscore hospitals’ reluctance to fix problems without essentially being forced to do so. Now, rather than blaming the mothers or other societal problems, or claiming that maternal death just “sometimes happens,” hospitals will take steps to put patient care at the forefront.
In the meantime, if you or someone you love is concerned about the care they received, the Eisen Law Firm can help. Call our experienced Cleveland malpractice lawyers to discuss your options for legal recourse and for obtaining the compensation you deserve. To schedule your free consultation, call 216-287-0900 or contact us online today.