Giving birth is normally one of the most joyous times in life. Conversely, losing a baby or the mother is one of the worst incidents a family has to endure. Unfortunately, some disturbing statistics for Indiana have recently been reported. According to the latest report by America's Health Rankings and the Indiana Department of Health, Indiana's maternal mortality rate is 41.4 of 100,000 live births for white women and a shocking 53.4 of 100,000 live births for African American women.
What’s more, the state's infant mortality rate is now the 7th highest in the country.
"It's an embarrassingly high number, particularly as it relates to communities of color," added Indiana State Senator Jean Breaux (D), Indianapolis. "I think this is something that we all should be concerned about."
At the same time, “Senator Breaux couldn't believe what happened the last day of the 2019 legislative session. Funding was stripped from a new law she sponsored that would have paid for Doulas (trained individuals who provide guidance for at risk pregnant women) statewide under Senate Enrolled Act 416.”
Women with lower incomes often fail to get connected to available services in the city, while women in rural communities have no place to go. They're often living in what's called "maternity deserts" -- a term often used by the March of Dimes in reference to underserved areas for maternal health. This means that they have no hospital or a hospital with OB services.
Indiana has 33 such counties: Benton, Blackford, Brown, Carroll, Clay, Clinton, Crawford, Fayette, Fountain, Franklin, Gibson, Jasper, Jennings, Martin, Montgomery, Newton, Ohio, Owen, Parke, Pike, Posey, Putnam, Rush, Scott, Spencer, Starke, Switzerland, Tipton, Warren, Washington, White, Union, and Vermillion.
Professor Wendy Kline is an author and historian who lectures on public health policy at Purdue. She says Indiana has a troubling history when it comes to providing care to women in need of public assistance. "Funding cuts to public health, lack of access to clinics, getting them access that's affordable is crucial," Kline told WTHR-TV (Indianapolis) in a recent investigative report.
She says Indiana needs more Medicaid dollars but cautions it's not all about money. According to Kline, educating and empowering women by giving them choices is key to helping them advocate for themselves and their own care.
At the end of the summer, the Indiana Department of Health ISDH will survey every birthing and delivering facility in the state to make sure it meets new rules. One of those rules require moms with certain health risk factors to deliver their babies at facilities that have the appropriate technology, equipment, and experienced personnel on hand.
Mistakes in Childbirth
Aside from all of this, the good news is that most births happen without any issues. Thousands of healthy babies are born every day in Indiana and across the nation. Still, there are concerns about mistakes made by doctors or nurses in the delivery room. In the worst circumstances, there is serious negligence that can cause death or traumatic birth injuries that can last a lifetime.
When there is a suspicion of malpractice in the delivery room, Theodoros & Rooth want to hear your story.
If you believe that your doctor or other medical professional is guilty of malpractice during birth, or for any other reason, contact Theodoros & Rooth immediately. We will determine of you have a sound case and will work aggressively to recover compensation for what could well become a serious financial crisis for on-going care.
Sources include, WTHR-TV, Indianapolis; Indiana Department of Health