Amnesty International minces no words in its new report
on U.S. maternity care. Deadly Delivery: The Maternal Health Care Crisis in the U.S.A.
, reports that more than 2 women die per day in the United States from pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications, a rate that’s worse than in 40 other industrialized countries. “Preventable maternal mortality
is not just a public health issue, it is a human rights issue,” states Amnesty.
“Women in the USA face a range of obstacles in obtaining the services they need. The health care system suffers from multiple failures: discrimination; financial, bureaucratic and language barriers to care; lack of information about maternal care and family planning options; lack of active participation in care decisions; inadequate staffing and quality protocols; and a lack of accountability and oversight.”
The report profiles several women who died or nearly died because of inadequate, inappropriate, or discriminatory care: one woman dies of a blood clot following a cesarean section, which could have been prevented with simple circulation stockings (a standard prophylactic
for other major surgeries); another woman bleeds to death following a C-section, even after she and her husband plead with medical staff to address her troubling symptoms; a high-risk woman experiencing complications late in pregnancy is turned away from a prenatal clinic because she can't afford a $100 deposit; both she and her baby die after care is delayed.
Each death represents dozens of “near misses” that often leave women in worse health; of the 4 million American women who give birth each year, 1.7 million women experience complications that lead to adverse effects. "The US health care system is failing women," says Amnesty. Read the full report here.