As advanced as our healthcare is, the care offered to women during childbirth is astonishingly poor. Doctors and nurses constantly monitor babies to ensure their health and safety, but mothers are often less of a concern.
Our maternal mortality rates are increasing, and more American women die of pregnancy-related problems than any other developed country. Birth injury and medical malpractice lawyers at Pintas and Mullins Law Firm explore the problem and who is hardest hit by it below.
ARE HOSPITALS UNPREPARED FOR MATERNAL EMERGENCIES?
Considering that childbirth is one of the most common reasons women go to hospitals, hospital staff should be more prepared for these emergencies. One recent analysis found that about 60% of maternal deaths are preventable.
Our confusing and fragmented healthcare system makes hospitals, doctors, and staff more prone to mistakes. This is particularly true for women in rural areas, those with lower incomes, and African-American women.
LEADING CAUSES OF PREGNANCY AND CHILDBIRTH-RELATED DEATHS
Women who’ve had health problems during pregnancy are more likely to be monitored throughout labor and childbirth, while mothers who’d shown zero signs of being unhealthy aren’t watched as closely.
Doctors should check all mothers, even those who seem perfectly healthy, for problems such as:
- Heart abnormalities
- Heart or blood vessel conditions
- Blood clot in the arteries
- Excessive bleeding
- Mental health conditions
- High blood pressure
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A REAL EXAMPLE OF MEDICAL MALPRACTICE DURING CHILDBIRTH
While many complications during pregnancy and childbirth could have been prevented, you’ll need to speak to an attorney to know if it was caused by medical malpractice. Malpractice occurs when a woman’s doctors fail to diagnose and treat her conditions, despite reasonable standards and evidence.
Take, for example, the unexpected death of Lauren Bloomstein, a nurse who showed textbook symptoms of dangerously high blood pressure after giving birth to her first child.
Lauren’s husband, an orthopedic doctor, knew something wasn’t right when she told him she had severe abdominal pain shortly after giving birth. He saw that Lauren had high blood pressure, but Lauren’s doctors insisted that her tests were coming in fine. He pushed to get a specialist involved, and even contacted his own colleagues for advice.
Much later that night, Lauren was finally diagnosed with pregnancy-related hypertension, or preeclampsia, but it was too late to save her. Devastated after Lauren’s passing, her husband filed a complaint against the hospital, saying her doctor “failed to ensure that recommended obstetrics guidelines” were followed by staff.
SO, HOW CAN THIS BE FIXED?
Teams of concerned doctors, many of whom practice in California, the state with the highest child births and maternal deaths, are working to change the idea that a mother’s health is somehow less important than her child’s.
Toolkits are being created to help doctors and nurses in case of an emergency. Lauren’s tragic death, and so many others like hers, could’ve been avoided with better trained staff and crisis preparation.
WE ARE HERE FOR YOU
If you know a mother who died or nearly died during pregnancy or childbirth while under the care of a doctor, she may have a medical malpractice case.
Our medical malpractice lawyers are dedicated to fighting for the justice mothers deserve. Call us for a free case evaluation today. We practice in all 50 states and can travel to you.