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Many Nurses Don’t Understand Risks to Maternal Health Post-Childbirth, Study Finds

new born with mother

Childbirth places a massive amount of demands on the mother’s body. Even after a healthy birth experience, a mother needs expert care to heal properly. Should complications arise, a mother needs to be able to trust that her medical care during and after the birth is provided by knowledgeable and experienced medical professionals. According to a recent survey, nurses working in maternal care often lack an understanding of signs of complications post-childbirth.

According to studies conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, somewhere between 700 and 900 women die every year in the US from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth, and an additional 65,000 suffer nearly-fatal injuries from such causes. This makes the US the affluent nation with the highest rate of maternal death, and the rate of childbirth-related fatalities is only growing. What’s more disturbing is that approximately 60% of these deaths are believed to have been preventable.

MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing conducted a survey looking at the knowledge of nurses who worked with post-partum women regarding conditions that threatened maternal health. The study questioned 372 post-partum nurses on how much time they spent educating women on the symptoms they should watch for in the days and weeks after giving birth, as well as the nurses’ knowledge of the conditions that posed the biggest threat to these women.

The survey found that most nurses lacked solid information on what conditions most threatened women after giving birth. Only 24% of the participating nurses were aware that the number one threat to post-partum women was heart-related issues. A mere 12% knew that most maternal deaths happen in the days and weeks after the mother had given birth. These nurses spent much more time educating the mother about proper care of her baby than about potential complications for the woman’s own health post-birth; generally, women received only 10 minutes’ worth of education on warning signs of complications.

Hospitals and healthcare facilities have a legal duty to provide medical care that is in compliance with the latest best practices in that particular field. When doctors and nurses lack information on medical conditions that threaten their patients and preventable conditions cause injury or death to these patients, these medical facilities may bear financial responsibility for patient death or injury.

If you or a loved one has been injured during childbirth and you believe you may be owed money damages, contact the dedicated, compassionate, and effective Hudson Valley medical malpractice attorneys at Rusk, Wadlin, Heppner & Martuscello, LLP, in Kingston at 845-331-4100, or in Marlboro at 845-236-4411.

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