Last month, we discussed the alarming rate of maternal deaths across the United States. One of the leading causes of maternal deaths is dangerously high blood pressure, also known as preeclampsia, which can lead to a stroke if not quickly treated.
An investigation by USA Today reports on the staggering routine failures of maternal hospitals. This study prompted The American Hospital Association, which represents nearly 5,000 hospitals and health networks nationwide, to crack down on maternity hospitals. In recent years, the trade association has held closed-door training sessions designed to urge maternity hospitals to improve their quality of care.
The training sessions – which were invitation-only – discussed how wide-ranging care failures at birthing hospitals are causing unintended deaths. One trainer told maternity staff during a 2015 webinar that maternal deaths, “were from causes that we could have done something about. We could have prevented it if we had recognized the emergency early on.”
Another trainer stated during a 2016 closed session that according to studies, as many as 93 percent of maternal deaths caused by bleeding during childbirth could have been prevented if medical staff monitored the amount of blood loss. Additionally, 60 percent of deaths caused by preeclampsia, a life-threatening blood pressure condition, could have been prevented if medical staff took measured to control maternal patients’ blood pressure.
In the past year, a growing number of maternal hospitals have been partaking in voluntary childbirth safety improvement programs. There are currently 985 hospitals enrolled in the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM) Program, which accounts for roughly 40 percent of all birthing hospitals in the United States. According to AIM’s website, the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed country, aside from Afghanistan and Sudan. The organization’s goal is to eradicate maternal deaths in the U.S.
As part of a voluntary quality-improvement program, USA Today acquired data from dozens of U.S. hospitals in 2015 and 2016 – which kept track of how often medical staff gave the appropriate amount of blood pressure medicine within a one-hour emergency deadline.
They found that:
These records show that the delayed reactions of medical professionals have put maternal patients at risk of suffering severe, life-threatening injuries. Unfortunately, the failure of medical staff to respond promptly is often kept out of the public eye and untracked by government agencies.
Cone Health operates both Alamance Regional Medical Center and Women’s Hospital in Greensboro, NC. Since both hospitals have begun participating in the federal quality program, they have seen a significant amount of improvement. This includes proper treatment for maternal patients suffering high blood pressure:
In order for maternity hospitals to prevent maternal deaths related to high blood pressure, they should do the following:
If hospital staff fails to take appropriate measures to prevent maternal deaths, they should be held accountable. If you or a loved one suffered an illness or injury due to medical malpractice, it’s important that you have an attorney who knows how to investigate these complex cases.
Our attorneys at Goldberg & Schulkin Law Offices have seen the devastation caused by negligent medical staff. We’ll leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of justice. Contact us today and find out how a medical malpractice attorney can help you.