The United States is one of the most unsafe places a woman could give birth in, according to a new report that sheds light on the growing number of medical workers who skip safety practices and put women in peril during childbirth.
Doctors and nurses are supposed to weigh bloody pads to monitor blood loss so they recognize any potential dangers sooner. They are also supposed to provide medication within an hour of spotting high blood pressure to prevent potential episodes of stroke.
Doctors Are Neglecting Pregnant Women During Childbirth
Such precautions aren't complicated tasks and are in fact among the most basic measures experts have recommended for years because they can save mothers' lives, according to USA Today. Moreover, these procedures are simple and don't require expensive technology to perform.
Despite that, doctors and nurses across the country continue to neglect these tasks. As a result, women are left to bleed until their organs stop working. Their high blood pressure goes untreated to the point where they suffer from strokes. Some even die over preventable blood clots and untreated infections. Those who survive, meanwhile, become susceptible to paralysis or unable to bear more children going forward — grave consequences that could have been prevented if only doctors and nurses performed their jobs correctly.
According to USA Today's in-depth investigation, nearly 50,000 women are "severely injured" during childbirth, and about 700 die every year. Half of these deaths and should not have happened, as should the injuries, if the measures illustrated above had been followed.
Maternal Deaths: A Harrowing Portrait
While most women give birth sans any issue, "The Global Burden of Disease 2015 Maternal Mortality" study published in The Lancet journal and cited in USA Today's "Deadly Deliveries" report brings to light a shocking disparity between U.S. childbirths and those of other developed nations — between 1990 to 2015, the number of maternal deaths in most developed nations such as Germany, France, and Japan per 100,000 births fell or plateaued below 10. In the United States, however, the number rose to 26.4.
The leading cause of maternal deaths include hemorrhage and severe hypertensions, the result of medical practitioners "eyeballing" such biometrics instead of professionally measuring them. Less than 15 percent of women in peril receive recommended treatment.
The report paints an appalling picture of neglect when it comes to childbirth in America.
"We're not just talking about the women who die, we're talking about 50,000 U.S. women who are suffering life-altering harms," said Alison Young, the journalist behind the report. She called on clinicians to make the safety of a pregnant women a priority and for hospitals to introduce the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health Programs safety checklists.
Her report isn't the first to reveal the horrid state of childbirth care in the country, however. Both NPR and ProPublica also launched their own investigations and found many of the same revelations.
Why such neglect occurs in hospitals remains to be explained, but there is absolutely no excuse for letting women die because doctors and nurses didn't do their jobs properly.