Maternal mortality and morbidity remains inexcusably high in the United States. A 2018 report from the Commonwealth Fund notes that among 11 high-income countries, American women have the greatest risk of dying from pregnancy complications.
According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, from 2008 to 2016, each year an average of 73 Illinois women died within one year of pregnancy. Of those deaths, 72 percent were considered preventable by review committees.
Regardless of where they happen, these incidences need to be brought to light in order to educate others and advance change. Consider the following cases handled by Clifford Law Offices from 2013 through 2019:
These families’ willingness to pursue the poor care and neglect suffered by their mothers, daughters, and children is truly heroic. In addition to compensating the families for their economic loss and providing resources for their future needs, shedding light on the systematic breakdowns within each of the health-care systems increased the likelihood that those tragic errors would not happen to other mothers, daughters, and children.
Finally, an element that cannot be overlooked in a discussion of medical-malpractice cases involving pregnancy is racial disparity. As the IDPH noted in its report, “racism, including systematic racism and provider bias, negatively affects the quality of health care.”
In its most recent study on maternal mortality, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control found that from 2011 to 2016 in the United States, black non-Hispanic women suffered 42.4 deaths per 100,000 live births versus 13.0 deaths per 100,000 live births for white non-Hispanic women. The CDC noted that among the maternal deaths surveyed, “variability in the risk of death by race/ethnicity indicated that more can be done to understand and reduce pregnancy-related deaths.”