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USA Today Investigative Report Reveals Hospital Negligence Causing Injury, Even Death, to Women During Labor and Delivery

Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

According to a USA Today report published in July 2018, U.S. hospitals are not providing proper care to women during childbirth and the impact is devastating.

“Hospitals and health care workers should be held accountable when they don’t follow proper procedure,” Medical Malpractice Attorney and Registered Nurse Eileen Kroll warns new mothers.

Hospitals must do better

“The vast majority of women in American give birth without incident. But each year, more than 50,000 are severely injured. About 700 mothers die. The best estimates say that half of these deaths could be prevented and half the injuries reduced or eliminated with better care.”
– USA Today, Hospitals know how to protect mothers. They just aren’t doing it. July 2018

Eileen Kroll highlights the report, which was based on a review of more than a half-million pages of internal hospital quality records, as well as examining the cases of more than 150 women whose deliveries went terribly wrong. Reporters contacted 75 hospitals and interviewed mothers or families to listen to their side of the story.

  • Fewer than half of maternity patients were promptly treated for dangerously high blood pressure that put them at risk of stroke. At some hospitals, this number was less than 15 percent. This life-threatening condition is known as Preeclampsia. Untreated high blood pressure can lead to seizures and stroke.
  • A study showed that 93% of women who bled to death during childbirth (hemorrhage) could have been saved if hospital staff had monitored blood loss more closely.
  • Since 2010, researchers have been promoting childbirth safety practices to reduce deaths and injuries that have been built upon years of published research, but “despite nearly a decade of medical studies, warnings, advice and training, hospitals continue to provide uneven care.”

The report reveals that this potentially dangerous lack of attention is happening at hospitals of all sizes, even in the most technologically advanced birthing centers, and also in doctor’s offices before and after delivery.

It goes on to state that, according to a report published in The Lancet Medical Journal, from 1990 to 2015, the rate of maternal deaths in the U.S. has risen sharply, while during the same period rates in most other developed nations has been flat or dropping.

“Best practice safety measures have been shown to prevent injury and save lives,” Eileen Kroll continues. But hospitals are failing to put these standards of care into place.

What can be done to protect mothers from hospital negligence during labor and delivery?

USA Today recommends that regulators and oversight groups, including government-run Medicaid, take a stronger stand in requiring hospitals to do more. Medicaid helps pay for nearly half of the 4 million births each year in the U.S.

Hospital negligence victims speak out

“Some praise the care they received. But many women said they felt frustrated and powerless after encountering doctors and nurses they felt didn’t listen or weren’t prepared for emergencies.”
– USA Today, Hospitals know how to protect mothers. They just aren’t doing it. July 2018

Searching for answers when labor complications go wrong

“I was deeply moved by the many heart-wrenching personal stories of labor complications gone wrong,” Cochran, Kroll & Associates’ attorney Eileen Kroll comments on the USA Today article. “These women were left seeking answers, feeling helpless.”

According to the article, “They want other mothers to know the importance of finding health care providers who listen to their concerns, pay attention to warning signs and are trained to deal with complications.”

“It’s important that a woman in this situation work with an attorney that specializes in medical malpractice cases involving childbirth,” Kroll continues. “Cochran, Kroll & Associates has proven experience helping women who are victims of hospital negligence.”

60% of deaths could be prevented graphic

Progress made in adopting standardized hospital care during labor and delivery, but more is needed

The USA Today article notes that “there is a growing recognition by hospitals that they need to adopt standardized care practices to save mothers’ lives.” And there is data to suggest this is happening, though slowly.

USA Today’s research provides examples of hospitals where enacting best practice standards of care has made a difference in preventing injury and death caused by overlooking warning signs. “Experts say the slow pace of change is largely because, in this country, doctors and hospitals enjoy wide latitude in how they practice medicine,” the article states. It continues: “How they treat patients is often based on what providers were taught – years or decades earlier – in medical or nursing school, plus their individual experiences over time. When researchers identify safer ways of caring for patients. There are no mandates that providers read or follow these practices.”

What can you do if you suspect hospital negligence during labor and delivery?

The USA Today article includes a link to a helpful Guide that lists questions to ask the hospital and your doctor about their safety practices before choosing them as your provider. (We’ve posted a link to the full story following this article.)

If you’re a mother, or the loved one of a woman who was injured or died during childbirth, and you suspect that the hospital facility may not have followed safety procedures, or did not respond promptly to high blood pressure, severe bleeding or other symptoms, you may be entitled by law to receive compensation.

Call today to speak with Medical Malpractice Attorney and Registered Nurse Eileen Kroll at Cochran, Kroll & Associates. Or for your convenience, submit our web form and Cochran, Kroll & Associates will contact you. Eileen Kroll’s experience in uncovering the truth and in preparing your case gives you the best chance at seeking fair and just compensation when you’ve been a victim of hospital negligence.

Read the USA Today Article

Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.

Tim is a writer and editor who earned his Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Maryland and calls Washington, D.C., home after spending most of his adult life in the country's capital. Although Tim spent most of his post-college years in the restaurant industry, he became interested in writing about legal matters after he recently moved to Colombia. Today, Tim writes professionally about medical malpractice, drug policies, and workplace injuries. Tim is focused on curating his freelancing career and plans to work remotely for as long he can.



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