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This morning, CBS This Morning broadcast a story on the increasing rate of injuries to mothers in the immediate post-delivery stages of delivery. According to a USA Today in depth article, over 50,000 mothers are injured and 700 die every year in the United States as a result of delivery/post-delivery complications. The article goes on to indicate that, “[t]he best estimates say that half of these deaths could be prevented and half the injuries reduced or eliminated with better care.”

What is even more stunning is the statistical comparison between the US and other countries on the incidence of maternal deaths per 100,000 births from 1990 to 2015. While most developed countries have trended from roughly 15 such deaths to less than 10, the US statistics have increased from roughly 17 to over 26.

Some of the most common hospital oversights pertaining to a failure to recognize the amount of blood lost during the pregnancy and the failure to recognize complications associated with hypertension. As the USA Today article indicates, 90% of deaths associated with hemorrhage and 60% of deaths associated with hypertension could have been prevented. Such statistics are staggering.

One aspect that the USA Today article does not address is the question of who bears the burden for the cost associated with these avoidable complications. Who will pay for life long medications, home modifications, lost income (especially in a single parent family), and other monetary damages? Interestingly, the article compiled most of its statistical data by analyzing information from federally funded clinics. Logic tells us that if the injuries are occurring to individuals who are seeking care at federally funded clinics before they were injured, chances are that they are continuing to seek care at federally funded clinics after the injuries. One can only imagine who bears the burden of such damages when the injuries are associated with those with private insurance and seeking healthcare from non-federally funded healthcare providers. So who bears the burden of the costs associated with such oversights? The American tax payer and the individual injured, until and unless a victim seeks legal representation to pursue a medical malpractice action.

Often times, injuries such as these can lead to life long medical care and treatment. The projected cost of such treatment is frequently in the millions, if not tens of millions in the worst case scenarios. It is unacceptable in today’s world to allow such preventable injuries to occur here in the United States. When somebody is injured because a healthcare provider fails to take reasonable steps to safeguard their patients from such injuries, our court system provides an avenue for the injured to be made whole.

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