Are Mommies Safe? Maternal Morbidity And Mortality In The United States

K. Blaine

In July, Alison Young wrote a compelling piece for USA Today on maternal mortality in the United States. The article tagline alone would make any healthcare professional cringe: “Hospitals know how to protect mothers. They just aren’t doing it.”

Ouch. I have to admit, as a labor and delivery nurse who genuinely cares about each and every patient, my defenses were up in the first few sentences of Young’s article, but I read on.

She asserts that the United States is “the most dangerous place in the developed world to give birth . . . each year, more than 50,000 are severely injured. About 700 mothers die.” Knowing that many of these injuries and deaths are preventable, this is sobering data. What are we doing wrong?

According to Young, the bottom line is that there is a “lack of attention to safety recommendations” at hospitals around the country. She writes, “when hospitals work with well-organized state-wide quality groups – that help them train staff, track data and benchmark against peers – care can improve faster.”

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