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What Are the Causes of Maternal Death in the United States?

Posted on in Maternal Injuries

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:

  • Infection and sepsis produced by disease-causing agents

  • Cardiovascular conditions such as congenital heart disease

  • Amniotic fluid embolism caused by amniotic fluid entering the mother’s bloodstream

  • Maternal Hypertensive disorder including gestational hypertension, preeclampsia, eclampsia, and chronic hypertension.

  • Cerebrovascular accidents such as a stroke

Maternal Deaths Caused by Medical Malpractice

In some cases, a mother’s death during pregnancy or childbirth is unavoidable. Doctors and nurses may take every action possible to save a mother’s life, but these steps may prove unsuccessful. However, there are other instances in which medical negligence is to blame for a mother’s death. If a medical professional’s failure to meet the medical standard of care results in the death of a mother, her surviving loved one may choose to bring a medical malpractice claim against the doctor or medical facility. There is no amount of money that could ever make up for the tragic loss of human life; however, compensation obtained through a medical malpractice claim can provide the financial relief that a grieving family desperately needs. Compensation for the deceased’s person’s medical expenses, pain, and suffering, lost wages, and funeral and burial costs may be available. The surviving family may also be eligible for compensation for “loss of consortium,” or the loss of the guidance and support the mother would have provided to her child.

Contact a Chicago Maternal Death Lawyer

The death of a mother during pregnancy or childbirth may be caused by a number of different problems. If you suspect that the death of your loved one may have been caused by medical negligence, contact Birth Injury Law Alliance, LLC to learn more about filing a medical malpractice claim. Call us today at 312-462-4200 to schedule a free, no-obligation case consultation with one of our dedicated Cook County medical malpractice attorneys.




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