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Survey Exposes Lack of Knowledge on Recovery from Childbirth on Behalf of Nurses

Pregnant lady

The United States has the dubious distinction of having the highest maternal mortality rate among affluent countries. A recent survey conducted by MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing revealed one possible cause for the rate of maternal deaths: nurses simply don’t know as much as they should about the reasons that women die after childbirth.

Research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that each year, between 700 and 900 women die from causes related to childbirth and pregnancy, but that an additional 65,000 women are nearly killed by these conditions. Troublingly, this research showed that nearly 60% of these maternal deaths could have been prevented.

The recent survey involved responses from over 370 nurses who worked in post-childbirth maternal care. The survey investigated the nurses’ understanding of risks to maternal health and signs of underlying health issues, as well as the rates at which participants educated their patients on warning signs of serious health concerns that can arise in the days and weeks following childbirth.

According to the responses, only 12% of participating nurses knew that the majority of maternal deaths occur in the days following childbirth. Heart-related problems are the number one cause of death among mothers, but less than a quarter of all nurses surveyed knew this fact. Many conditions that can threaten maternal health post-partum can be treated if discovered early enough, but nurses spent an average of only 10 minutes educating these women on symptoms they should look out for as they recovered from giving birth. Since about 40% of new moms forgo their post-birth follow-up, it is especially important that they know to look out for certain symptoms and seek medical attention if they arise.

Groups that study medical care for maternal health have found simple, inexpensive tools that medical facilities can use to reduce the risk of death to women who have recently given birth.  Even simple handouts listing symptoms of dangerous conditions such as blood clots in the lungs or pre-eclampsia have been found to help women recognize and seek treatment for these conditions. Hospitals which fail to recognize symptoms of serious post-birth conditions in women, resulting in injury or death to new or expecting mothers, may bear liability to those women and their families for negligently failing to provide reasonable care.

If you or a loved one has been injured by negligent medical care in New York, contact the seasoned, knowledgeable, and compassionate Hudson Valley medical malpractice lawyers at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP for a consultation on your injuries, in Marlboro at 845-236-4411, and in Kingston at 845-331-4100.

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