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Illinois Birth Injury AttorneyAs we have discussed in past blogs, the United States has a troublingly high rate of maternal mortality when compared to other high-income countries, with around 700 maternal deaths each year. The problem is especially prevalent among Black, Latino, and other low-income communities in which mothers have difficulty accessing quality healthcare. Fortunately, the State of Illinois has recognized that financial support for mothers and infants can help to combat this problem, and has recently taken action to extend Medicaid benefits for those in need.

Illinois Medicaid Benefits for Pregnant Women and New Mothers

Medicaid is a federally funded program that is administered by state agencies, with the intention of providing low-income individuals and families with financial assistance for healthcare costs. Medicaid eligibility requirements vary somewhat from state to state, but in Illinois, you generally must be at least 65 years old or have a qualifying condition. Pregnancy is one such qualifying condition.

In recent years, Illinois provided Medicaid benefits for pregnant women through two different programs. One program, known as Medicaid Presumptive Eligibility, or MPE, covers outpatient services as needed during pregnancy. The other program, known as Moms & Babies, provides more comprehensive coverage for both outpatient and inpatient care. This includes care during delivery, and for a duration after the child is born.

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Illinois birth injury attorneys for Maternal InjuriesChildbirth is often a difficult process for both the mother and the child, especially when the child is having difficulty traveling through the birth canal. In these cases, a doctor may recommend the use of forceps to guide the baby’s head and assist with the delivery. However, an error in the use of forceps can cause serious injuries not only to the child, but to the mother as well. If you have been injured while giving birth to your child, you may have a claim for compensation based on medical negligence.

Maternal Injuries From Forceps Use

The use of forceps during childbirth is a very delicate procedure, and even a minor error could have serious consequences. Some possible maternal injuries and health complications related to forceps use include:

  • Lacerations and tears - Forceps can cause cuts or tears in the tissue of the vagina, the anus, or the perineum (the area in between). This can lead to scarring or excessive bleeding that may prove fatal.

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Cook County medical negligence attorney maternal injury

For the past year, people throughout the United States have been concerned about the risks of COVID-19, and as the virus continues to affect everyone’s daily lives, most people are taking precautions to minimize the risks of infection. Those who do become infected may be able to receive the treatment necessary to recover, but the chances of death continue to be high. This is a major concern for pregnant mothers since they will want to protect their child’s health in addition to their own. Unfortunately, the rate of maternal death in the United States, which is already significantly higher than in other industrialized countries, has become even higher for mothers who have been infected with COVID-19.

Additional Risks for Pregnant Mothers

Multiple studies have looked at the rates of severe illness, hospitalization, and death among pregnant women with COVID-19, finding that these women are at an increased risk of serious complications. Pregnant women are 3.5 times more likely to be hospitalized, and they are also much more likely to be admitted to an intensive care unit or require interventions such as invasive ventilation or extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO). In addition, a study found that the maternal mortality rate for women with COVID-19 infections was 1,250 deaths out of 100,000 pregnancies. This rate is 13.6 times higher than the mortality rate for non-pregnant adults of a similar age.

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Cook County maternal injury childbirth

As one of the richest countries in the world, the United States should be able to provide quality healthcare to mothers and children during the process of pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Unfortunately, even though medical facilities have made a serious effort to reduce birth injuries to children, the same level of care is often not provided to mothers. In fact, the U.S. has the highest rate of maternal death among developed countries, with hundreds of women dying during childbirth each year. Perhaps even more concerning, however, is the increasing rate of serious maternal injuries, known as severe maternal morbidity. These types of injuries affect mothers in more than 1 percent of all births, adding up to over 50,000 cases each year.

What Is Maternal Morbidity?

Unexpected complications during pregnancy and childbirth can result in many different types of short-term and long-term issues that affect a mother’s health. Some forms of severe maternal morbidity include:

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Cook County medical malpractice attorney maternal death

When a pregnant mother goes into labor, she may be much more concerned about the health of her unborn child than her own health. The thought that she could pass away during labor or delivery may never even cross her mind. Tragically, maternal death is a major problem in the United States. Between 700 and 900 mothers pass away every year in this country from pregnancy-related complications. In fact, the United States has a higher maternal death rate than all other developed nations. Even more concerning, the rate at which pregnant mothers are dying has increased in the last few decades despite advances in prenatal care. In some cases, medical error or negligence may have caused maternal death. 

Factors That Contribute to Maternal Mortality

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines a pregnancy-related death as one involving the death of a mother during pregnancy or within one year of the end of the pregnancy. In 1987, the first year for which the CDC collected data about pregnancy-related death, there were 7.2 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. By 2016, this rate had more than doubled. The top cause of pregnancy-related death in the United States is hemorrhaging or excessive blood loss. Other top causes of maternal death include:

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