More than 50,000 American mothers are severely injured giving birth every year. About 700 end up dying. And about half of those deaths and injuries would be preventable if hospitals simply provided better care, a USA Today investigation has found.
Those drastic numbers make the U.S. the most dangerous developed country to give birth in. But it's nearly impossible to pinpoint how things have gotten so bad, USA Today reports. Hospitals are falling short of recommended standards, and there's no national system to track their incompetence and hold them accountable.
USA Today looked at more than 500,000 hospital records and examined 150 disastrous births to reveal failing maternal care is a national crisis. There's no tracking system for doctors to record and learn from childbirth issues, patients with high blood pressure and blood loss aren't given prompt and proper care, and doctors and hospitals alike regularly miss or ignore obvious signs of pre- and post-natal complications, the investigation found.
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All this negligence adds up to a sharp increase in maternal mortality rates, up from 17 deaths in 100,000 births in 1990 to 26.4 in 2015. The rest of the developed world saw steady or improved death rates, with many below 10 deaths per 100,000 births, USA Today found.
America's only exception to these devastating numbers is in California, where state regulations have cut mortality rates in half. The rest of the states have neglected to implement California-level standards, and regulators and oversight groups are just standing by as hospitals continue to fail new families. Read more about these devastating findings at USA Today.
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