Roberts Wooten & Zimmer LLC
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Birth complications are rising. Better care could prevent them

New parents arriving at the hospital to deliver a baby expect quality care and for a reasonably uncomplicated experience. While this is the case for many patients, there are a growing number of mothers who are experiencing life-threatening complications during and after labor.

According to a report by ProPublica and National Public Radio, more than 135 expectant and new mothers a day – or roughly 50,000 per year – endure dangerous and life-threatening complications. The U.S. has the highest rate of maternal mortality in the industrialized world – 700 to 900 a year.

Near-death experiences leave physical, emotional damage

According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), the rate at which woman are suffering near fatal experiences in childbirth has risen faster than those suffering fatal experiences. Severe complications often included blood transfusions, infections, kidney or respiratory failure, heart attacks, bleeding and blood clots, sepsis and hysterectomies.

These complications can leave physical, emotional and financial wounds for families, even if the mother and the baby live to go home. For a mother who receives an emergency hysterectomy, this can be especially painful if she was hoping to have more children. U.S. women are roughly five times more likely than British or Swedish woman to undergo a hysterectomy, according to Elena Kuklina, a CDC health scientist.

Better care could decrease injury

The road to better care for mothers could start with better scrutiny for near-fatal births. The U.S. no longer publishes an official count of pregnancy-related fatalities and does not tally near-fatal births either. More than 30 states – Missouri included – have a review board for maternal mortality, but Illinois is the only state with a committee that reviews severe maternal complications.

In a study of all women who were admitted for delivery over a period of 30 months at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, it was found that 44 percent of live-threatening complications had an “opportunity for improvement in care” to prevent them.

If you experience severe complications in the delivery room, it is statistically possible that what you endured could have been prevented. You can determine whether or not there is a case for medical malpractice by working with an experienced personal injury attorney who understands how to build a successful case. If a delayed diagnosis of complications led to a near-fatal experience, you can receive compensation for your expensive hospital bills and your physical and emotional distress.

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