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There May Be More to the Story When it Comes to Maternal Mortality

maternal mortality

When you look at this picture, what do you see?

Some people see two people looking at each other. Some people see a candlestick. Both of these interpretations emphasize the idea that we each bring our perspective into our views.

The same idea applies when it comes to the Maternal Mortality Review Committees that are tasked with reviewing pregnancy related deaths. Given that maternal mortality in the United States has not decreased, these committees are an effort to better understand the problems that cause these deaths and identify solutions.

In an article titled “The Importance of Including Diverse Voices In Maternal Mortality Review Committees,” the authors reinforce the importance of not only the committees themselves but also of the need to make sure they are comprised of people with a range of experiences, in order to get the most multidisciplinary analysis. In particular, the authors advocate for “community-based care perspectives.” These representatives, who work in the community rather than within the hospital, can offer “knowledge of individuals and lived experiences in the communities where they work; and furthermore, make connections to additional community resources that could have a role in preventing future deaths.”

The authors provide a powerful example of the way this additional perspective can help to provide a more complete picture, which will, in turn, lead to a better understanding of maternal mortality.

They shared the same case facts with a maternal-fetal medicine specialist and a community-based nurse: “A 30-year-old Haitian-born woman with complex medical and social needs . . . died from cardiomyopathy shortly after her fifth pregnancy, had suffered from anemia, and had a family history of cardiac disease. They also learned that she did not speak English, received very little prenatal care, and was a victim of intimate partner violence. As her health worsened following childbirth, her Medicaid coverage lapsed at 60-days postpartum—the time frame when pregnancy-related Medicaid eligibility ends.”

The specialist honed in on the services and the care that the hospital could have provided to the patient. Had they known about her postpartum problems, the emergency, obstetrics, and cardiology units could have joined forces to provide the care she needed.

However, “the community-based nurse pointed to key changes in care that could have taken place outside the hospital before, during, and after her pregnancy. The community-based nurse noted that if the woman had been screened for depression and intimate partner violence—and had she been provided more support in a manner that was sensitive to her life circumstances—the identification and management of her postpartum complications may have been improved and her death ultimately prevented.”

Here's the thing: Both of them make sound points. Both of them are correct. And having both of these perspectives broadens the conversation in a way that has potential to put mothers first. Ultimately, the goal is for mothers to have healthy pregnancies, safe deliveries, and appropriate postpartum care. And diverse representation on Maternal Mortality Review Committees will engender a multi-faceted approach to maternal health, providing more opportunities to prevent death.

The Eisen Law Firm and Maternal Health

At The Eisen Law Firm, we care about maternal health and stay current on all the latest medical issues surrounding safety for both mother and newborn. We have years of experience advocating for mothers and newborns. In Fact, attorney Brian Eisen is a Board-Certified Patient Advocate.

The Eisen Law Firm is backed by years of experience, led by an esteemed Harvard Law School (and undergrad) graduate, has a successful trial and settlement portfolio, but most importantly, knows how to hold careless doctors accountable for their mistakes. We are very selective in the cases we take, which means we devote more attention to fewer cases, giving your case the attention it deserves. 

If you or a loved one is worried about the maternal care you have received, please contact 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.