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Many women face preventable childbirth complications

With the advances in modern medicine, most pregnant women in Illinois expect that their labor and delivery process will result in a healthy baby being born, with little to no issues. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over 50,000 women annually will suffer serious or even near-fatal complications from childbirth. In fact, of the industrialized nations worldwide, the United States is the country with the highest maternal mortality rate.

And, what some find to be an even greater issue, 1 percent of women in the United States will experience "severe maternal morbidity." For example, while they may not die, they may experience life-threatening hemorrhaging, organ failure or another serious medical issue following childbirth. While sometimes these complications are outside of anyone's control, one 2016 study reported that in 44 percent of those studied who suffered a near-fatal complication from giving birth, there was an "opportunity for improvement in care." The severe maternal morbidity rate also increased twofold from 1994 to 2014.

Under a new program, the state of Illinois has been reviewing these types of complications, but the program is funded only for one year. In general, it is rare for the government to perform an investigation when a woman dies in childbirth, and it is even more rare for the government to perform an investigation when a woman experiences a near-fatal complication from childbirth.

For example, one woman ended up in a medically-induced coma and had to undergo emergency surgery to remove her uterus after suffering a severe infection and septic shock about 10 days after giving birth. Another woman suffered from bleeding after being sent home following childbirth. She went to the emergency room, but was told that the bleeding was not abnormal, and that she could return home. Two months later, she experienced another episode of bleeding. She ended up losing nearly 50 percent of her blood. She had to have an emergency hysterectomy, and following that operation developed near-fatal blood clots in each lung.

Women who did not receive adequate care and suffered damages from a complication stemming from childbirth may want to explore whether they could pursue a medical malpractice case.

Source: phillyvoice.com, "Severe complications for women during childbirth are skyrocketing - and could often be prevented," Katherine Ellison and Nina Martin, Dec. 26, 2017

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