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Baltimore Maternal Injury & Death Lawyers

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the worldwide maternal mortality rate decreased 44% between 1990 and 2015. This is good news. The bad news is that the maternal mortality rate in the United States (excluding California and Texas) increased 26.6% from 2000 to 2014. This begs the question: What is happening, or not happening in U.S. hospitals that’s contributing to the maternal death rate? If you lost someone in childbirth, the law firm of Murphy, Falcon & Murphy can help you find out what happened.

Maternal Mortality Defined

Maternal mortality occurs when a woman dies during pregnancy, during labor, or shortly after the pregnancy ending (such as, during postpartum). For it to be considered maternal mortality, as opposed to a death for other reasons, the death must be directly or indirectly caused by the pregnancy or the management of the pregnancy. For example, a car accident would not be considered maternal mortality, but a deadly infection contracted at the hospital after giving birth would.

U.S. Contributing Factors

With some of the most advanced medical technology available in the word at our disposal, it’s surprising that the maternal mortality rate has increased so dramatically in the United States. According to WHO, there are three things that are the most likely contributors to the increase.

  • Obstetrics. Often there are complications during child birth that are not recognized proactively. This means that they are not treated until they become emergencies and are more serious and life-threatening. This is such a wide-spread problem in the United States that the World Health Organization has released recommendations that include creating a national plan to manage pregnancy related emergencies.
  • Chronic conditions. Pregnant women are experiencing a rise in chronic conditions. Risk factors such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, and obesity, increase the risk for medical complications that can lead to death. To prevent harm, there needs to be a coordinated, uniform approach to manage these serious conditions during the pregnancy, in the delivery room, and postpartum.
  • Statistical analysis. According to WHO, the United States is failing to perform a comprehensive data analysis regarding maternal mortality. There is some information available sporadically. The WHO recommendation is for the states and medical communities to come together and engage in an on-going national dialogue to address the problem. Data needs to be gathered, shared and collaboratively analyzed.

Common Causes

The most common causes of deaths related to pregnancy are also some of the most preventable.

  • Infection
  • Serious Bleeding
  • Preeclampsia (very high blood pressure)
  • Complications associated with cesarean sections

There are solutions to help prevent these complications. Proper hygiene practices can prevent infection and preeclampsia can be treated with consistent monitoring. Cesarean sections are major surgical procedures and the risks versus benefits should be carefully considered proactively. Inducing labor also involves risks that must be weighed.

Mom vs Baby

Medical professionals need to focus on both the mother and the baby during pregnancy and childbirth. Sometimes monitoring is focused only, or mostly, on the baby and that can translate into life-threatening risk for the mother. Most of the complications that lead to maternal mortality could be prevented with improved monitoring and testing.

When Death Occurs

Maternal mortality is made even more tragic because of how preventable it usually is. Murphy, Falcon & Murphy know that there’s no amount of money that can make it okay for you or your child to have lost your loved one. We also know that when a mother is injured or dies unnecessarily in childbirth, those responsible need to be held accountable. We are dedicated to making sure that you and your child receive the compensation you deserve for their negligence. Call today for a free consultation.