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Some Nurses May Not Know Enough About the Potential Dangers of Childbirth

Having a baby is usually one of the greatest joys in life.  There are times, though, when childbirth can become a life-threatening experience.

In a recent broadcast by National Public Radio (NPR), many mothers who nearly died after giving birth stated that “their doctors and nurses were often slow to recognize the warning signs that their bodies weren’t healing properly.”

The news was based on a study published in MCN: The American Journal of Maternal/Child Nursing.  In part, “researchers surveyed 372 postpartum nurses nationwide and found that many of them were ill-informed about the dangers mothers face after giving birth.  Needing more education themselves, they were unable to fulfill their critical role of educating moms about symptoms like painful swelling, headaches, heavy bleeding, and breathing problems that could indicate potentially life-threatening complications.”

The study further notes that this lack of knowledge could be a contributing factor to the maternal mortality rate in the U.S., the highest among affluent nations.

“An estimated 700 to 900 women die in the U.S. every year from pregnancy and childbirth-related causes.  Another 65,000 nearly die,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). “The rates are highest among black mothers  and women in rural areas .  A recent CDC Foundation analysis of data from four states found that close to 60 percent of maternal deaths were preventable.”

Nurses represented in the study said they spent very little time — usually 10 minutes or less — instructing new moms about warning signs of potential complications.

Researchers found that nurses could be quickly educated with short, targeted information by providing new mothers with a check-list of warning signs to be alert for after returning home.

The shortcomings documented by the national survey could foster wider use of new educational tools for nurses and doctors, suggests Mary-Ann Etiebet, executive director of Merck for Mothers, which funded the study as part of a 10-year, $500 million initiative to improve maternal health around the world. “Something as simple as creating educational and training programs for nurses can have a real impact,” she says.

As we have said many times in our informational articles here at Theodoros & Rooth, most doctors and nurses are compassionate, thorough and honest.  It is also true that in the rush to discharge a new mother and the newborn, there may be a failure to provide adequate information for after care.

There are other times when we see obvious signs of irresponsible behavior in the treatment of patients in various facilities, including clinics, hospitals, and nursing homes.  If you suspect there has been malpractice in the birth of your child, or as part of any other medical procedure, we urge you to contact us at Theodoros & Rooth.  We have decades of experience in representing clients in medical malpractice claims.   We will listen to the facts of your case.  If we believe you have a case, our attorneys will work tirelessly to represent you until a fair settlement is reached.  There is no fee unless we win.