Maternal Mortality Litigation Review
TimeThursday, April 152:00pm - 3:00pm EDT
LocationPatient Safety Research and Initiatives
DescriptionThe United States is faced with a maternal mortality crisis, suffering from worse maternal and infant health outcomes compared to most other developed nations. Despite spending more than any other country on maternity care, the maternal mortality rate in the United States is approximately 17 per 100,000 live births. This challenge persists partly due to the high-risk nature of obstetrics and gynecology; medical negligence or malpractice lawsuits are frequently filed to seek damages for improper medical care during childbirth. In fact, OB/GYN remains one of the most litigious medical specialties – several studies have shown that a much greater percentage of maternal injury claims result in settlements or judgments as compared to other specialties. A considerable number of these claims can be linked to postpartum hemorrhage, or excessive bleeding following vaginal birth or cesarean delivery.
This study aims to review maternal mortality lawsuits, specifically due to postpartum hemorrhage, to identify elements associated with higher risk litigation for mothers undergoing childbirth. A review of litigation surrounding this topic was conducted using the Nexis Uni database from January 2011 to December 2020. Inclusion criteria consisted of maternal mortality cases due to postpartum hemorrhage, which discussed legal causes like medical negligence or obstetric violence. The articles which met these criteria were analyzed to create lists of data elements most associated with maternal injury litigation. Many cases of maternal death are preventable, so gaining a greater understanding of challenges faced by medical providers will be useful in enhancing patient safety in postnatal care settings.