The U.S. has long had the highest rate of maternal fatalities during childbirth of any country in the developed world. STOP. Read that again. We are inundated with so many statistics these days that we lose sight of the ones that matter. This one matters. This is insane. The rate of maternal injuries and deaths during childbirth in U.S. hospitals has been steadily increasing over the decade. For their part, hospitals have insisted that this increase was largely out of their control and not a reflection of any declining quality of care. Hospital advocates suggest that poverty rates and an increase in pre-existing maternal health conditions are to blame for these morbidity rates.
USA Today Investigation
This attempt to shift blame away from doctors, nurses, and hospitals fails. USA Today recently did an investigation of just this. You don’t think USA Today is the New England Journal of Medicine? Fair enough. But this is not rocket science. It is just a look at the numbers and, yes, the anecdotal stories. USA Today showed that demographics alone cannot explain maternal death rates in the U.S. The investigation looked at medical records and lawsuits from across the country, suggesting that delayed care, misdiagnosis, and poor safety measures contributed to maternal death and injury rates.