The Gender Gap

Unfortunately but unsurprisingly, there is a gender gap in medical care, across all departments. In a study that compared the experiences of 1,000 men versus women in a clinical setting, it was found that “clinicians are more likely to suggest psychosocial causes, such as stress or family problems, to female patients in pain – when they would order lab tests more frequently for a male patient with similar symptoms.” As a result, women experiencing and expressing pain were less likely than men in a similar condition to receive the necessary medication; when women did receive the appropriate medication, they spoke to healthcare professionals for 16 more minutes than men on average.

Pregnancy-Related Mortality Ratio

It’s important we shine a light on the neglect black women are being forced to endure in healthcare settings. When aiming to understand the effects of race and gender in healthcare, we need to observe both the gendered and race-based data provided by the obstetrics and gynecology department.

Pregnancy-related mortality ratio (PRMR) is a valuable statistic that compares the number of pregnancy-related deaths across races per 100,000 live births. This blog will focus on Georgia’s maternal mortality numbers, but this is a national issue.

Georgia: Maternal Mortality

The following data is from Georgia’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC). The MMRC reviews deaths that occur during pregnancy or within a year postpartum to determine causes and contributing factors and recommend interventions to prevent pregnancy-associated deaths in Georgia.

Pregnancy-Related Deaths

A pregnancy-related death is a death during pregnancy or within one year of the end of pregnancy from a pregnancy complication, a chain of events initiated by pregnancy, or the aggravation of an unrelated condition by the physiologic effects of pregnancy.

Leading Causes of Pregnancy-Related Deaths

The leading causes of pregnancy-related deaths are:

  • Cardiovascular/Coronary Complications
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Hemorrhage
  • Infection
  • Cerebrovascular Accidents

Pregnancy-Associated Deaths

The data also reports on pregnancy-associated deaths, which occur during pregnancy or within one year of the end of pregnancy due to a cause unrelated to pregnancy. The leading causes of pregnancy-associated deaths are:

  • Motor Vehicle Accident
  • Drug Toxicity
  • Homicide
  • Cancer
  • Cardiovascular Complications

Maternal Mortality: The Statistics

Using data from 2015 through 2017, the following statistics were reported by the MMRC:

  • 68.9 pregnancy-associated deaths occurred per 100,000 live births.
  • 25.1 pregnancy-related deaths occurred per 100,000 live births.
  • 87% of pregnancy-related deaths were preventable.
  • Non-Hispanic black women are 2.3X more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than non-Hispanic white women.

Needed Change

Steps must be taken to protect black mothers in healthcare settings. The Georgia Maternal Mortality Review Committee recommends the following:

  • Georgia should mandate an autopsy be performed on all pregnancy-associated deaths.
  • Providers, insurance providers, and birthing hospitals should ensure case management is provided for women during pregnancy and postpartum.
  • Georgia should extend Medicaid coverage up to one year postpartum.
  • Obstetric providers should use a validated instrument for screening perinatal mood and anxiety disorders at the first prenatal visit, in each subsequent trimester, and at the postpartum visit.
  • Providers should initiate pre-pregnancy counseling on all women of reproductive age, in accordance with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommendations to optimize health, address modifiable risk factors, and provide education about healthy pregnancy and family planning counseling.

Holding Medical Professionals Accountable at The Mabrey Firm

It is essential to be aware of the healthcare disparities listed above to prevent negligence during and after pregnancy. At The Mabrey Firm, we are devoted to holding medical professionals accountable for their actions and fighting for the wronged. Our trial attorneys, who collectively have more than 30 years of experience, are committed to defending the rights of the public. We take on every case personally and stand up for those who have been injured or killed due to someone else’s negligence.

If you or someone you love has been injured or died due to medical negligence, let us fight for you. To schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Atlanta medical malpractice attorney from The Mabrey Firm, call us at (404) 841-4991 or contact us online.

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