Unfortunately, it is no secret that the United States is one of the most dangerous developed countries for mothers to give birth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that nearly 700 women die because of pregnancy-related injuries every year. And a new report indicates that medical professionals could prevent more than half of those deaths.
The problem: Three out of five mothers at risk
Anyone who enters a hospital or medical center expects the staff and physicians to provide them with the best possible care. And families welcoming children into the world especially have high expectations of care.
However, the rate of maternal deaths is only increasing as time passes. Three out of five new mothers die from preventable causes each year. And that number only increases for mothers of color. The CDC determined that these deaths can occur at any time, from pregnancy to labor and delivery, as well as up to a year after giving birth.
Various medical problems—but one cause
These mothers die from various causes, including:
- Hemorrhaging during birth
- Heart conditions
Despite these many health issues, the CDC and most experts can agree that there is one primary cause of this high maternal death rate: medical negligence.
Nearly all of these deaths could be avoided, but hospitals and medical professionals fail to:
- Provide mothers with quality service
- Give mothers necessary information about risk factors
- Diagnose these medical conditions early enough for proper care
Many of them make careless mistakes or simply do not provide mothers with the attention and care they need. With proper care, most of these health conditions are not fatal. But many hospitals do not have the training, equipment or protocols to handle these conditions and save mothers’ lives. They are neglecting their responsibility to provide patients with the highest standard of care possible.
Virginia is taking action to protect new mothers
Our lawmakers here in Virginia are taking this worrying matter seriously. Lawmakers passed a bill this session that establishes a Maternal Death Review Team. And this team has the responsibility to:
- Review all cases of maternal deaths for medical negligence
- Define what factors contributed to the mother’s death
- Determine how to prevent those factors in the future
- Increase awareness and education for new mothers
Lawmakers hope that creating this team will help to reduce the rate of maternal mortality in Virginia and combat this serious epidemic.