Despite boasting the lowest infant mortality rate in the world, the United States has more medical errors and maternal deaths than any other developed country. According to the CDC, 60% of these deaths can be prevented. One reason cited for this issue is the lack of research done into understanding the causes of death after childbirth and finding ways of preventing it.
In the United Kingdom, for example, when a woman passes away during or after giving birth, medical records are examined, interviews are carried out, and public inquests are conducted. Answers are sought. As a result, maternal death rates have declined steadily in the UK, Canada, France, and Germany. By contrast, the rate in the United States has increased.
In the United States, OB-GYN doctors often focus on the newborn child, essentially leaving the mother to fend for herself. They often pass off vomiting, heartburn, pain, and nausea as normal symptoms during labor and after birth. However, these symptoms can often be indicative of more serious conditions, such as preeclampsia, Hellp syndrome, infections, cardiac issues and more, all of which can lead to the death of the mother if not treated in time.
Mother Dies After 20 Hours of Postpartum Suffering
A NICU nurse, Lauren Bloomstein, died due to medical error after suffering for 20 hours after giving birth to her baby in the same hospital where she worked.
According to her husband Larry, an orthopedic trauma surgeon, his concerns were shot down repeatedly, even though he knew within an hour and a half of the baby’s delivery that something was wrong with Lauren.
Dr. Vaclavik, Lauren’s OB-GYN, repeatedly ignored her symptoms, which included increasing blood pressure, severe pain, and vomiting. He claimed they were not a cause for concern and prescribed antacids.
Despite Larry’s suspicions that his wife was suffering from Preeclampsia were again brushed aside when tests revealed nothing abnormal. However, her blood pressure continued to rise. A nurse removed the blood pressure cuff as it seemed to cause Lauren discomfort.
As a result, no one took her blood pressure for 8 hours during her ordeal. When she started complaining of a headache, staff finally took her blood pressure, which had reached 197/117. By then, though, it was too late and Lauren soon died of hemorrhagic stroke.
Had the staff been more vigilant and aware of symptoms of atypical postpartum distress, they might have saved Lauren’s life.