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New safety standards to prevent birth injury and death proposed

As wonderful as the United States is, and for all the technology and medical advances available here, it is amazing how many women suffer injuries or death due to problems during or after labor and delivery. New safety standards have been proposed that, if properly implemented, have the ability to save numerous families from the physical, financial and emotional trauma that often accompanies a birth injury or birth-related death. What are these new standards, and how will they help Louisiana families?

If passed, these new safety standards will require staff at birthing hospitals around the country to pay closer attention to mothers who suffer from high blood pressure and severe bleeding while in labor and postpartum. Why are they only focusing on these specific issues? It is believed that high blood pressure and hemorrhaging are the two leading, yet preventable, causes of maternal injury and death.

Every year, on average, 50,000 women suffer injuries in the birthing process, and another 700 women die during or after bringing their babies into the world. This number could and should be far lower. It simply takes medical providers recognizing when there is a problem and taking action immediately. It is believed that a lack of quality health care is behind 40 percent of maternal deaths. A change in how medical providers treat mothers in labor and in the early postpartum stages is the only way birth-related injuries and deaths will decrease.

It is unclear if or when these proposed safety standards will become standard practice at birthing hospitals in Louisiana. Even without them, women should expect quality care when they enter a hospital to deliver their babies. Any woman who has suffered a birth injury, or any family who has lost a loved one during or shortly after the labor and delivery process, has every right to question if medical negligence contributed to their losses. If it did and one can successfully prove that, monetary damages may be achieved through legal means.

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