Increasingly, the media is reporting on the disturbing increase in the maternal mortality rate. Generally, this rate is higher in developing countries but drops the richer a country becomes. However, the U.S. has seen an increase in its maternal mortality rate over the past decade, which is difficult to explain.
According to statistics kept by Becker Hospital Review, Florida ranks near the bottom of all states in terms of maternal mortality, which may be caused by medical malpractice. The study looked at the number of maternal deaths during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, or within 42 days of termination of the pregnancy and found that Florida rated an alarming 13th out of the 48 states for which there was information.
A Closer Look at the Numbers
Only Alaska and Vermont did not have statistics available. Of the other 48 states, Georgia led the way with the worst maternal mortality rate, clocking in with 46.2 deaths per 100,000 pregnancies. Put differently, almost half of one percent of pregnancies in Georgia will result in the death of the mother.
The best state was California, with only 4.5 maternal deaths per 100,000 pregnancies. Other states doing a good job include Massachusetts (6.1) and Nevada (6.2).
Florida had a rate of 23.8, which is around half of Georgia’s rate but is still very high. Our state came in just behind Maryland (23.5) but also just ahead of Montana (24.4) and Wyoming (24.6).
Why Are Mothers Dying?
To their credit, Florida hospitals and other public agencies have begun to question why the maternal mortality rate is so high in Florida. Some of the most common causes of death during delivery include internal bleeding and undiagnosed high blood pressure. Often, mothers know that something is wrong but doctors either do not listen to them or else delay treatment.
However, Florida could do more, particularly by making high-quality medical care available. States that expanded Medicaid to cover low-income people had much lower rates of maternal and infant mortality, according to a study by the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families. The infant mortality rate declined by 50% and the maternal mortality rate fell around 1.6 points per 100,000 pregnancies. However, Florida has not yet expanded the Medicaid program, and the new Governor seems resistant to it. This means many women and their children in Florida will not get the care that they need.
Speak with a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Miami
Birth injuries to mothers and children are often avoidable. If you have questions about what went wrong, please give us a call, 305-371-2692. Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein has sued many hospitals and doctors for birth injuries, and we are eager to be of help.