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Maternal death rates in US highest among developed nations

Posted Thursday, March 14, 2019 by Tyler Goldberg-Hoss

Developed nations may be defined as those with a more developed economy and advanced infrastructure relative to other, less developed nations. Although exact definitions are up for debate, most agree that countries such as Australia, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, England and, yes, the United States, qualify.

In many such nations, the maternal death and injury rate has been decreasing over time. However, the opposite is true in the United States. These rates of mothers dying or being seriously injured giving birth are going up, and now with 26.4 per 100,000 births, we have the highest rate in the developed world.

There are a number of reasons for this. First, oversight groups have been lax in quantifying these complications relative to others. Medicare, for example, doesn’t require hospitals to report childbirth complications, while they do for hip and knee surgeries. Without data to analyze trends, it’s harder to effect change.

Second, many of these complications are preventative. One leading cause of maternal death is extreme blood loss. With earlier intervention by hospital personnel, many of these lives could be saved. California is an example of a State which has a protocol in place to administer medications in a timely manner. In part as a result of this, maternal deaths in California have been cut by half, even while rates rise in other parts of the US.

Something doesn’t add up when the most prosperous nation in the world still allows more death and injury to mothers in childbirth than every other developed nation. Tracking adverse events and creating protocols are two simple, common sense ways to save lives.

You can read more here:

U.S. Hospitals Do Little to Protect Mothers During Birth

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