Idaho OB-GYN Malpractice Part of a National Problem
Doctors who work in obstetrics and gynecology – OB-GYN – are among the most highly trained in the medical profession. They are responsible for female patients during pregnancy, childbirth, and postpartum, as well as for their general reproductive health.
Yet OB-GYNs (along with neurosurgeons) are among the most commonly sued for medical malpractice in Idaho and throughout the U.S. A recent report by CBS News detailed a quiet epidemic that is beginning to gain more awareness: our abysmal rate of maternal mortality in this country.
According to Dr. Mary-Ann Etiebet, cited in the article, "The United States is the only industrialized country where the rates of maternal deaths [in pregnancy, childbirth, or postpartum] have increased, not decreased." In fact, the U.S. ranked 46th for maternal mortality. Every single day, at least two women die – and that’s not even the end of it. The annual number of “near-deaths” is reportedly 60,000.
Why So Many Maternal Deaths in the U.S.?
Researchers say there are numerous factors that could be playing a role.
Older mothers. One could be factors specific to the women involved. For instance, more women are having children later in life, which means they may be less likely to begin their pregnancies in optimal health. A higher number may suffer from chronic conditions like high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.
Rise in C-sections. The real problem, say medical professionals, is how those babies are delivered – specifically a dramatic spike in C-sections. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported about 40 percent of all births are conducted via C-section. Any surgery is bound to have risks, and C-sections unquestionably save the lives of both mothers and newborns in some instances. However, second C-sections especially are a riskier, more complicated surgery than the first.
Gender discrimination. The fact of the matter is that many doctors do not listen to their pregnant patients. Too many OB-GYNs fail to take their patients’ concerns seriously. And systemic problems in doctors' offices, hospitals, and urgent care clinics may be partially to blame. For example, if a woman goes to a hospital soon after birth fearing there has been some type of complication, there is no hard-and-fast rule for how quickly she needs to be seen by an obstetrician. For a woman to wait hours is not uncommon. By then, serious complications could be irreversible.
Racial discrimination. Women of color especially have statistically disparate care on this front. If you are a black woman, your chance of dying in childbirth is nearly four times higher than the national average. Researchers have largely ruled out socioeconomic factors on this front.
Reduced resources may be another factor, given that hospitals have closed hundreds of maternity wards, finding them too expensive to operate – leaving almost half of all rural counties without obstetric services.
If you or a loved one has suffered an illness or injury due to a medical malpractice, it is crucial to speak to a lawyer as soon as possible. Contact the Law Firm of Joseph F. Brown, MD, JD, PLLC to discuss your options.