The statistics regarding racial inequalities in the American health care system are profound when it comes to maternal mortality rates before, during and after labor and delivery.
While Black females only account for 13% of women in this country, they die in childbirth almost as often as White women. When the death rate is adjusted for the population, Black mothers die about 2.5 times more often than White mothers. Even sadder: Black infants are also dying at twice the rate as White infants.
In a country with advanced medical care, that’s disturbing.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the majority of pregnancy-related deaths are preventable. About 60% of all maternal deaths could be avoided with better medical care.
For Black families, this isn’t exactly news. Many mothers, fathers and grieving family members have stepped forward in recent years to discuss how both overt racism and subconscious racial biases have created inequities in the medical system that put Black mothers and their infants at serious risk.
Among the problems:
- Black patients are 22% less likely to receive pain medication than White patients
- Black patients are more likely to be denied testing for suspected health problems, even when they ask for testing
- Black women are more likely to be denied the opportunity for vaginal births after a Cesarean
- Black women who complain about their care are more likely to be labeled “difficult” and ignored than White women
Losing a new mother (or both the mother and child) due to unnecessary pregnancy complications or complications during and after delivery is devastating to a family, no matter the cause. It’s even more grievous when you suspect that racism played a role.
If your family has suffered through a tremendous loss due to medical malpractice, take action. Speak to an attorney today about your situation.