When Doctors Ignore Maternal Patients’ Needs in Georgia: An Attorney Discusses
We recently discussed Georgia’s poor ranking in maternal mortality rates in comparison to the rest of the United States. On the surface, hospital errors appear to be the culprit. However, the root of the problem goes much deeper.
Real near-death experiences
An opinion piece published in the New York Times delves into factors that are driving the national maternal death rate. In order to learn more about the problem, the writer shares input from those who have had near-death experiences during the birthing process.
One 35-year-old maternal patient in Chicago nearly lost her life. She was in good health when she attended her final prenatal appointment 40 weeks into her pregnancy. When reflecting on her experience, she described the obstetrics doctors as being “more interested in protocols than people.”
After her amniotic fluids were discovered to be low, she was told that she had to be induced immediately and wasn’t allowed to leave. She tried to discuss her options with her doctor, but was told she had no choice.
She was induced with Pitocin and was required to receive a cesarean section since the baby had turned sideways. However, she experienced hemorrhaging for roughly three hours while doctors tried to induce clotting.
Maternal patient needs disregarded
The near-death experience recapped by the 35-year-old maternal patient illustrates an underlying problem. It’s not necessarily errors made by doctors, and it’s certainly not patients’ lifestyle choices during pregnancy. Maternal patients’ needs are simply disregarded.
Additionally, the overall health of maternal patients is scrutinized by many review panels. In a sense, maternal patients are blamed for their own deaths.
As lawmakers continue to beat around the bush, the U.S. is still behind all other developed nations when it comes to preventing maternal deaths. Despite efforts to curtail them, maternal deaths only continue to rise. In fact, the United Nations’ efforts to cut the maternal death rate were only successful in other developed countries.
However, in 2006, California – which saw a 55 percent decrease in its maternal death rate between 2006 and 2013 – led the nation in preventing maternal deaths. The Stanford University School of Medicine, in conjunction with the state, initiated the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative, a “multi-stakeholder organization committed to ending preventable morbidity, mortality and racial disparities in California maternal care.”
Sadly, during that same period, the rest of the nation saw an increase from 13.3 to 22 deaths per 100,000 maternal patients. These numbers don’t account for the rate of maternal patients who have been severely injured or suffered lifetime trauma during delivery. Additionally, African-American women are reportedly at a 3.5 times higher risk to die from pregnancy-related conditions than white maternal patients. Their needs are more likely to be ignored by medical professionals.
The incident described by the 35-year-old maternal patient is just one of many that occur every year across the nation, including here in Georgia. Brushing off patients’ needs is completely unacceptable, and doctors who treat mothers this way should be held accountable.
Should you or a loved one suffer an injury or illness due to negligent hospital staff, you may have a strong medical malpractice lawsuit. An experienced and compassionate attorney at Tyrone Law Firm, PC can help you and your family pursue justice. Contact us to learn more.