Report: Maternal mortality in the United States "unusually commonplace"

Deaths connected to the childbirth process are higher in the United States than many other developed countries.

From vaccines to open heart surgeries, the medicines and procedures available today have a profound impact on our lives. However, one area of medical care is currently experiencing a concerning backwards trend: maternal mortality.

Maternal mortality is essentially the death of a woman connected to child birth. This can occur during the delivery process, immediately following it or, for the research in this article, up to 42 days following the birth of child. A recent report in The Economist is bringing attention to the fact that the maternal mortality rate in the United States is not improving. In fact, it has been declining since 1987.

More on maternal mortality in the U.S.

As of 1930, almost 1 woman died for every 100 live births. Over the next few decades, medical advances resulted in a decline by almost 99 percent. By 1987, this number decreased to less than 8 women for every 100,000 live births. Unfortunately, by 2013 this rate has risen from less than 8 to 18.5 women for every 100,000 live births.

There is controversy over the cause of this increase. Some contend that the increase is the result of more accurate recording measures while others state that the increase in Caesarean sections (up from 21 percent in 1996 to nearly 33 percent in 2015) is to blame while still others point to the poor health of women delivering babies in the United States.

The Economist points out that regardless of the cause, proactive measures can be taken to stop this morbid trend. It points to an effort in California to address obstetric haemorrhage and pre-eclampsia, the two leading preventable causes, by using new management techniques. These techniques have resulted in big changes. The maternal mortality rate decreased in this state from almost 17 in 2006 to just over 6 in 2015.

When maternal mortality is connected to medical malpractice

When death or injury is connected to the negligent or reckless act of a physician or other medical professional, a medical malpractice claim may be available. Medical malpractice generally operates within the legal theory of negligence. This essentially requires four elements: duty, breach, causation and damages.

A duty, in these situations, is often satisfied with the presence of a patient doctor relationship. A breach occurs when the physician or other medical professional fails to provide an acceptable level of care. This could manifest in the failure to properly monitor the delivery process. The victim must next establish that this breach was the cause of the accident and, finally, that the accident led to damages. This could include injury or death.

Remedies may be available

If you believe that you or a loved one suffered from complications during the prenatal care, childbirth and delivery process or postnatal care portion of the birthing process, compensation may be available. This compensation can help cover the high cost of medical bills, rehabilitative expenses and lost wages as well as potential pain and suffering awards. Contact an experienced personal injury lawyer. This legal professional will review the details of your experience and build a case to help better ensure you receive the legal remedies you are entitled to.