In modern-day America, there are some troubling statistics about maternal death rates during and just after childbirth. In general, women are dying far too often — but black women are dying as many as four times as often and suffering complications that lead to lifelong consequences at twice the rate that white women do.
So, what do hospitals say about this?
For the most part, the hospitals are on the defensive. They claim that the women who die are coming from a “medically vulnerable” group of patients who come to them with other problems that skew the statistics. In other words, the black women they see are poor, so they don’t have the right nutrition or prenatal care. Or, they’re overweight, so they get more complications like hypertension or diabetes. Or, they’re uneducated, so they don’t know how to take care of themselves properly prior to childbirth or after.
Yet, research shows that this isn’t necessarily true. At hospitals where there are problems, it really doesn’t matter whether the patients are white or black. White women at those hospitals suffer the same problems that black women suffer — it’s just that there tend to be more black patients, skewing the national averages.
When hospitals follow the recommended safety procedures and guidelines, the mortality rates for pregnant women and new mothers drop significantly — no matter the demographics involved. At some hospitals, childbirth complications occur in 1.5 percent or fewer births. Essentially, a close analysis revealed that the problem with maternal care isn’t happening in all hospitals — just some. The solutions (following proper procedures and recommended care guidelines) are available — but those hospitals are refusing to take responsibility for their own dismal failures.
You’re supposed to be able to expect a certain minimum standard of care no matter what hospital you’re in. If you suspect that a hospital or doctor didn’t follow proper procedures, and it led to an injury during childbirth or after, find out more about your legal right to compensation for your injuries.