Articles Posted in Birth Injury

birth injury lawyers

New Survey Shows Women Deserve Better Treatment While in Labor 

After the review of a recent survey of American women, Giving Voice to Mothers (GVtM), conducted by both clinicians and researchers using World Health Organization frameworks, it is now known that one out of six women surveyed reported being mistreated while in labor.

Examples of their mistreatment included:

blood pressure diagnosis

Blood Pressure Disorders in Pregnant and Postpartum Women Should Be Detected and Treated  

Emerging data by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention Maternal Mortality Study Group continues to prove that too many mothers are dying or suffering from preventative or treatable pregnancy complications. Specifically, disorders related to hypertension (high blood pressure) in pregnancy and postpartum timeframes remain common and a leading cause of maternal mortality and infant morbidity worldwide.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists has identified four major types of hypertensive pregnancy disorders, which can range from less to more severe, and typically occur after 20 weeks gestation.

medical malpractice

Terrifying Conclusions Stem from U.S. Maternal Mortality Reports & Investigations

Expecting moms are now 50 percent more likely to die in childbirth than their own mothers, according to Harvard Medical School. This staggering realization was proven by more than 50,000 cases of women who have suffered severe complications from childbirth and pregnancy-related illnesses or under-treated diseases and the 700+ more who are dying each year from them, a majority of deaths experts now say could have been avoided. These numbers rank the U.S. as the most dangerous place to give birth in the developed world, positioning health care providers to blame for their failures and carelessness in keeping mothers and babies safe during pregnancy, delivery, and postpartum stages.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Boston University researchers, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the U.S. Public Health Service recently released an outpour of data showing just how scary it is for American women to experience childbirth today. Here is a closer look at three recent reports to show the desperate need for a drastically different approach in providing better care to women before and beyond their pregnancies.

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy

What to Do If You Suspect Your Baby’s Brain Injury Was Caused by Oxygen Deprivation at Birth 

Hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE), sometimes called neonatal asphyxia, is a very serious birth complication created by an obstruction in blood flow in the brain during the prenatal, intrapartum or postnatal period. In shorter words, it happens when the fetus or infant’s brain is injured because of a lack of oxygen-rich blood.

HIE requires immediate medical intervention and can lead to the death of the child. For those that survive, mental disabilities and intellectual impairment, will occur in the first two years of age. These babies are also at greater risk of cerebral palsy, epilepsy, vision and hearing loss. Advanced research on HIE published in the American Journal of Perinatology has tied oxygen deprivation complications at birth to autism spectrum disorders and a range of other neurodevelopmental abnormalities.

“Safety advocates said that without access to public data, it has been too easy for hospitals to excuse poor outcomes by blaming mothers’ health problems.”

-USA Today

Hospitals Blame Mothers When Things Go Wrong

“To know that this happens is our country, that’s unacceptable.” 

-Sue Sheridan, patient safety advocate, in To Err Is Human

The medical malpractice attorneys of Levin & Perconti recently watched To Err Is Human, a newly released documentary showing the frequency and impact of medical errors upon American families. To see the facts relating to the frequency and severity of medical errors combined with the heart wrenching story of a family forever changed by these mistakes has left a lasting impression on all of us.

The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit group dedicated to hospital safety, has released their biannual Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade report, showing an overall improvement in Illinois hospitals since the spring. According to Leapfrog, the survey measures hospital patient safety by the number of “errors, injuries, accidents, and infections.” Participation by hospitals is optional and this fall, 110 Illinois hospitals agreed to take part. According to the data collected, Leapfrog rated Illinois hospitals as #13 overall, an improvement from #15 this past spring.

In a time where the increasing problem of medical errors is finally being given the platform it deserves, the survey is more relevant now than ever. The Leapfrog Group, citing an often quoted 2016 Johns Hopkins study, notes that medical errors are now the third leading cause of death in the United States. Patient safety and healthcare provider accountability is essential for all hospitals and healthcare organizations. Below is our analysis of the Fall 2018 Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade report for participating Illinois hospitals.


Illinois & Metro Chicago Hospital Results

“Today, this is the most dangerous place in the developed world to give birth.”                                                                          -USA Today: “Hospitals know how to protect mothers. They just aren’t doing it.” (July 27, 2018)

Last Friday, USA Today published a report with findings from their investigation into hospital records and personal stories and has concluded that hospitals are failing mothers by missing symptoms that indicate serious maternal complications. The report, entitled “Hospitals know how to protect mothers. They just aren’t doing it.,” shared the CDC’s statistic that 50,000 women a year in this country suffer a serious complication during delivery. Around 700 mothers die a year.

These statistics alone might not sound significant given that there are nearly 4 million births a year in the U.S., but the frightening part is that despite being a wealthy, industrialized country, our maternal death rate is getting worse and is the WORST of any developed country. We are the only country besides Sudan and Afghanistan whose maternal death rate is on the rise, despite the belief by many that we have the best care in the world.

The Center for Justice & Democracy, a consumer rights advocacy group out of New York Law School, has compiled a review of medical malpractice incidents and has publicly shared their findings. Entitled “Medical Malpractice: By the Numbers,” the briefing examines recent medical studies and investigations of both inpatient and outpatient groups and facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, and hospice organizations.

The data brings deficiencies in medical care into the spotlight, specifically the care Americans receive within hospitals. Below is a summary of information from the report our medical malpractice attorneys think is particularly informative and worth sharing. All data sources can be found in the CJ&D briefing. We have included the page number of the report that contains the source for each statistic.

HOSPITALS:

A nearly year long joint NPR/ProPublica investigation into the rising rate of maternal deaths in the U.S. has uncovered the pivotal role that midwives play in the safe delivery of babies. Mothers in the U.S. are dying at a rate three times greater than that of the next closest industrialized country. According to ProPublica, maternal death rates per 100,000 live births are as follows:

  1. United States = 26.4%
  2. France = 7.8%
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