USA Today reported on how “Hospitals know how to protect mothers. They just aren’t doing it” in a weekend story entitled “Deadly Deliveries.”
In a cover story of July 27-29, 2018, reporter Alison Young and a team of contributors wrote of how they examined more than half-million pages of internal hospital quality records obtained through federally funded programs and the deliveries of 150 women at hospitals where “deliveries went terribly wrong.”
Their findings resulted in a “stunning lack of attention to safety recommendations and widespread failure to protect new mothers.” They went on to say that “every year, 50,000 women suffer injuries or complications related to childbirth.” About 700 of these mothers die, the story reported. “The best estimates say that half of those deaths could be prevented and half the injuries reduced or eliminated with better care.”
Sadly, the reporters found that “the USA is the most dangerous place in the developed world to give birth.” In quoting Dr. Steven Clark, a leading childbirth safety expert and a professor at Baylor College of Medicine, he said, “Our medicine is run by cowboys today, where everyone is riding the range doing whatever they’re wanting to do.”
Change is slow to come, according to the story, because “doctors and hospitals enjoy wide latitude in how they practice medicine. How they treat patients is often based on what they were taught – years or decades earlier – in medical or nursing school, plus their individual experiences.” The call for mandated best practices was clearly the message of the in-depth look at maternity care and deliveries.