U.S. Hospitals Aren't Doing Enough to Protect Mothers

Although the United States is one of the wealthiest countries in the world and has one of the most expensive healthcare systems, woman are dying at far higher rates than other developed and wealthy nations. In fact, some estimates indicate that between 600 to 800 moms die every year in the United States. The CDC also estimates that 50,000 American mothers suffer severe injuries each year. Sadly, even the best estimates reveal that half these deaths and injuries could have been prevented with better care and attention from doctors.

Unfortunately, for the thousands of women who die or end up suffering life-altering injuries, their pain and suffering was often caused by medical workers and hospital staff who skipped safety practices that are known to prevent complications.

According to a USA TODAY investigation, doctors are failing to do simple and cheap procedures that can help identify potential dangers. From not weighing bloody pads to track blood loss to failing to give medication within an hour of spotting dangerously high blood pressure, doctors and other medical workers are neglecting basic tasks that experts have recommended for years, tasks that can ultimately save a mothers’ life.

Some Deliveries Can be Deadly

Despite expert recommendations, hospitals, doctors, and nurses across the country continue to ignore important preventative tasks, causing women to die from preventable blood clots and other untreated infections. In some cases, the mothers who have survived these traumatizing incidents have been left paralyzed or unable to birth more children.

As other countries continue to improve the quality of their healthcare, the U.S. continues to fall behind. Among other developed nations today, the United States is the most dangerous to give birth in. Without a national tracking system for childbirth complications, it is impossible to determine the exact number of hospitals that fail to provide recommended care. Thousands of mothers with harrowing tales of surviving birth complications often don’t realize that their doctor’s or nurse’s negligence may have led to their ordeal.

Maternal Deaths & Injuries

The USA TODAY investigation obtained more than a half-million pages of internal hospital quality records and reviewed the cases of more than 150 women whose deliveries featured major complications. Reporters from the publication contacted 75 birthing hospitals to track if they adhere to recommended procedures. The investigation uncovered a staggering lack of attention to safety recommendations and rampant failure to protect new mothers.

This lack of attention happens at hospitals both big and small, from community delivery units to major birthing centers known for their state-of-the-art technology and reputable staff. It also happens during regular doctors' office visits when they miss or fail to act on signs that can seriously complicate a pregnancy or delivery.

In recent years, the American Hospital Association, an influential trade association that represents close to 5,000 hospitals and health networks, held closed-door training sessions aimed at improving maternity care at hospitals.

In a series of webinars to discuss maternal care, AHA first warned anyone not invited to disconnect. After this waring was issued, trainers for the association went on to bluntly talk about how wide-ranging care failures at birthing hospitals are causing preventable deaths and injuries among mothers.

During a 2015 webinar, a trainer for the association told maternity staffs, “What we know about those deaths is that most of them were absolutely preventable. They were from causes that we could have done something about. We could have prevented it if we had recognized the emergency early on.”

In a 2016 closed session, hospital association trainers discussed studies that showed 93% of women who bled to death during childbirth could have been saved if hospital staff has been keeping track of how much blood the woman lost. According to the trainer, 60% of the studied deaths from preeclampsia, a severe blood pressure disorder in pregnancy, were also preventable because doctors “failed to control the blood pressure or to recognize other emergencies that were happening.”

As one AHA trainer said during a closed session, “We’re not talking about a Third World country, we’re talking about us, here. This shouldn’t be happening here.”

Speak to a New Mexico Birth Injury Attorney

The lawyers at Tom Rhodes Law Firm P.C. are committed to helping families whose lives have been significantly affected by negligent doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals who were responsible for caring for them during pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Our law firm has the skills and resources that you need to secure the compensation and justice you are entitled to.

Call (505) 544-4088 today to schedule your free consultationwith our friendly legal professionals.