The vast majority of women in America give birth without incident. But each year, more than 50,000 are severely injured. About 700 mothers die. The best estimates say that half of these deaths could be prevented and half the injuries reduced or eliminated with better care.
Instead, the U.S. continues to watch other countries improve as it falls behind. Today, this is the most dangerous place in the developed world to give birth.
USA Today, 7/27/2018
The methods to prevent these deaths are not mysterious, complicated or expensive. They just aren’t being practiced.
It’s still not a pretty picture in my home state of Indiana when it comes to preventable medical errors…like severe bed sores, wrong-site surgeries, foreign objects left inside of patients and falls. From The Indianapolis Star:
For the past eight years in an effort to curb the number of preventable mistakes that happen in Indiana, hospitals, ambulatory surgery centers, abortion clinics and birthing centers have been required to report 28 serious adverse events to the Indiana State Department of Health.
In 2013, 111 medical errors occurred at 293 facilities, according to a report recently released by state health officials. That’s more medical errors than have occurred in any year since the state started requiring facilities to report these events.
Indeed, preventable medical errors are the #3 cause of death in America, responsible for 1 out of 6 deaths. So this problem is literally killing us in very large numbers, and we don’t seem to be making much progress.
It doesn’t have to be this way. In a six-country survey, U.S. patients reported the highest rate of medical errors…a dubious honor indeed. (In case you’re wondering, the other five countries in the survey were the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, New Zealand and Canada.)
I know that physicians and hospitals recognize this problem and are making good-faith efforts to improve this and trying all kinds of strategies to improve it. But why aren’t we making any real headway? Why is the care in the United States so uniquely inconsistent despite costing so much more?
If you’ve read enough of this blog, you probably know the reasons already.
What do you think? I’m interested to read your comments.