FindLaw KnowledgeBasePublished: 2013-01-18
People in the United States naturally assume that as time progresses, advances in medicine and higher levels of care will lead to fewer unnecessary fatalities in hospitals. Unfortunately, a recent study revealed that pregnancy and childbirth complications are on the rise in the U.S.
In fact, the study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, found that the number of medical emergencies that took place during childbirth rose 75 percent from 1998 to 2009. In addition, the rate of serious complications for mothers shortly after giving birth doubled during that decade.
Common complications during and after delivery
Heart problems are one of the most common issues for mothers after delivery. According to the CDC, cardiovascular disease is one of the complications that most frequently leads to a fatality following a pregnancy. In 2006 and 2007, cardiovascular disease caused 13.5 percent of all deaths related to pregnancy in the country. The number of women who have required cardiovascular care due to childbirth rose 75 percent in the decade leading up to 2009.
Another common complication following pregnancy is hemorrhaging, when a woman experiences severe bleeding. This complication is particularly serious, as it can affect women regardless of whether they are generally healthy or not. Some complications can be directly related to a woman’s prior health issues — like diabetes. Consequently, doctors can often anticipate complications that will likely arise during and immediately following the delivery. In the case of hemorrhages, healthy women are also at risk of serious harm, and even death.
In some cases, the rise of a certain complication can be tied to the increasing popularity of a specific medical procedure. For instance, since 1996, the number of Caesarean sections performed in the United States has risen by 60 percent. As a result, a complication — called placenta accreta — involving the scar left from the operation has become an increasing cause of hemorrhaging following the birth of a child.
Some hospitals are taking steps to prevent pregnancy-related complications
In response to the rising number of pregnancy-related complications, many hospitals have taken action to make childbirth safer for expectant mothers. For instance, some hospitals have started to train hospital staff to respond to emergencies using techniques adopted from the military. The tactics are used to quickly inform everyone responding to the emergency of the situation and efficiently follow through with an appropriate response.
Hospitals have found some success with adopting checklists to prevent hemorrhaging. In addition, in an effort to make emergency responses more efficient, some hospitals have started to keep all of the potentially necessary supplies and medications in one location.
If you have suffered a pregnancy-related complication, you may be entitled to damages. Consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney will ensure your rights are protected.