Maternal Mortality Is Rising in the U.S. As It Declines Elsewhere

  1. U.S. Has The Worst Rate Of Maternal Deaths In The Developed World

    NPR and ProPublica teamed up for a six-month long investigation on maternal mortality in the U.S. Among our key findings:

    • More American women are dying of pregnancy-related complications than any other developed country. Only in the U.S. has the rate of women who die been rising.
    • There's a hodgepodge of hospital protocols for dealing with potentially fatal complications, allowing for treatable complications to become lethal.
    • Hospitals - including those with intensive care units for newborns - can be woefully unprepared for a maternal emergency.
    • Federal and state funding show only 6 percent of block grants for "maternal and child health" actually go to the health of mothers.
    • In the U.S, some doctors entering the growing specialty of maternal-fetal medicine were able to complete that training without ever spending time in a labor-delivery unit.

    U.S. Has The Worst Rate of Maternal Deaths In The Developed World : NPR
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    9 Comments

  3. by   herring_RN
    The Last Person You'd Expect to Die in Childbirth
    The U.S. has the worst rate of maternal deaths in the developed world, and 60 percent are preventable.
    The death of Lauren Bloomstein, a neonatal nurse, in the hospital where she worked illustrates a profound disparity:
    The health care system focuses on babies but often ignores their mothers...

    The Last Person You’d Expect to Die in Childbirth — ProPublica
  4. by   herring_RN
    California decided it was tired of women bleeding to death in childbirth
    The maternal mortality rate in the state is a third of the American average. Here's why...

    California decided it was tired of women bleeding to death in childbirth - Vox
  5. by   Lil Nel
    I've heard several of the stories on, NPR, Herring.

    One death they highlighted, was of a NICU nurse who passed away shortly after giving birth. Her husband was doctor, but not an OB-GYN. If that young woman could die in childbirth, what DOES that say about our healthcare system.

    I also listened to another story which focused on a young, Black woman who worked for the CDC and died several months after giving birth.

    Both stories were very sad. Both women had abnormal symptoms, and both were poo-pooed by the system.
  6. by   meanmaryjean
    I think one thing to also consider is the number of women who use assisted reproductive technology. It seems to me (completely only my opinion) that if one cannot conceive naturally due to anything other than physically blocked tubes, that perhaps that could be a possible confounder. In other words, just because you can doesn't mean you should. What if we compared apples to apples- I wonder what the numbers would then say?

    Just a thought- and not a very deep one. It's something I think should be at least part of this discussion.

    In my early days as a n RN in the NICU (40 years ago) one of my patient's mother died a week post-partum. She was 19 and had horrific HTN/ eclamptic seizures. She never saw her child. It broke my heart.
  7. by   EaglesWings21
    Rest peacefully, Lauren Bloomstein.
  8. by   mejsp
    I followed the NPR series also. The CDC PhD one continues to haunt me. She was trying to irradicate healthcare disparity and become one of the statistics.
  9. by   MunoRN
    While the maternal mortality has most likely risen, the ProPulica and NPR stories misrepresent the actual rate, since a large portion if not the majority of increase is due to changes in how we define maternal mortality and increased reporting requirements, which would produce a higher rate even if the actual rate didn't change.

    As the husband of new mom that experienced life threatening complications after childbirth, I get the impression that "failure to rescue" in these situations arises from desire to see childbirth as nothing but a joyous and happy event, the amount of trepidation that everyone involved should realistically have contradicts that, so we pretend it doesn't exist. In reality childbirth is an extremely dangerous point in the mom and baby's life, and should be recognized as such.

    Looking at risk factors, much of increased risk the US appears directly related to access to health insurance coverage, since lack of insurance correlates to an increased risk of perinatal mortality, likely due to difficulty accessing appropriate prenatal care.
  10. by   Lil Nel
    I completely agree that childbirth has been portrayed as nothing more than a "joyous" event that is somehow void of danger. But I am a middle-aged woman, who has known since I was a teenager that pregnancy, and childbirth are indeed dangerous. How could they not be?

    But the case of Lauren Bloomstein, was nothing short of negligence. The labor and delivery team at the hospital where she gave birth missed all of the signs and symptoms of HELLP syndrome. How could that be?

    Her BP was spiking, and yet a nurse removed the BP cuff after it was causing discomfort to the Lauren, because "we know her BP is high."

    An MD colleague of her husband, who worked at another hospital, in a completely different field, diagnosed her HELLP. But it was too late.

    According to the NPR, Propublica piece: In the US, maternal mortality reviews are left up to the states. As of last spring, 26 states (and one city, Philadelphia) had a well-established process in place; another five states had committees that were less than a year old.

    Ms. Bloomstein's husband filed a compliant with the NJ Department of Health. The case was reviewed before he could move forward with a lawsuit.

    As a result of his compliant, the labor and delivery staff at the hospital where Lauren died, has been given education on preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome.

    This case demonstrates the weak spots and failures of the American healthcare system.

    Again, according to the NPR/Propublica piece in the United Kingdom, maternal deaths are regarded as system failures and investigated by a national committee of experts. Its reports help set policy for hospitals throughout the country.

    No such thing exists in the US. Could it be because this country and it's lawmakers simply don't value the lives of women and children? Oh, I know all the rhetoric of lawmakers who say they do, but the truth is: They don't.
  11. by   broughden
    Quote from Lil Nel
    No such thing exists in the US. Could it be because this country and it's lawmakers simply don't value the lives of women and children? Oh, I know all the rhetoric of lawmakers who say they do, but the truth is: They don't.
    Because our individual states are allowed to run what should be national certification standards, across the board. And our entire political process is run by the corporations, like huge for profit healthcare companies, that see increased education as nothing more than an expense.
    Its why they use actuaries, to decide which is cheaper.....training or paying out the random lawsuit for a dead patient.

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