Study shows that injuries to mothers during labor & delivery are on the rise


Delayed recognition of problems during labor can lead to avoidable injuries

September 5, 2018

In September 2018, the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality released a new report dealing with trends in labor and delivery hospitalizations involving severe injuries to mothers (maternal morbidity).

Some of the statistics in this report are really eye-catching, given that I think most people would expect things to be improving with modern medicine rather than going in the other direction.

Between 2006 two 2015, there was a 45% increase in the rate of severe maternal morbidity (injury) at delivery. From an analysis of nationwide healthcare data, the research concluded that the most common indicators of a mother being severely injured at delivery include the need for blood transfusion, an illness called disseminated intravascular coagulation disorder (DIC), and hysterectomy.

Other indicators of severe maternal morbidity include acute renal failure, shock, ventilation, sepsis, aneurysm, adult respiratory distress syndrome, cardiac arrest/ventricular fibrillation, temporary tracheostomy placement, conversion of cardiac rhythm, amniotic fluid embolism, sickle cell disease with crisis, pulmonary edema/acute heart failure, air or thrombotic embolism, eclampsia, certain cerebrovascular disorders, heart attack (acute myocardial infarction), severe anesthesia complications, and heart failure during surgery.

The data revealed that severe maternal morbidity was highest among women over 40 years old, higher for black, Hispanic, and Asian/Pacific Islander women than white women. Plus, the in-hospital mortality (death) rate for women during delivery was three times higher for black women than white women in 2015. These are statistical figures and no one has a clear explanation for why any of these racial differences are shown in the data.

As a Houston, Texas medical malpractice lawyer, I have handled a lot of cases involving babies and mothers injured during the labor and delivery process. In my experience, one of the keys to having a successful labor and delivery outcome, with a safe baby and mother, is attentiveness by the nursing staff and OB/GYN physician.

I have handled numerous cases where patients and family members were pressing the bedside call button and no nurse would answer. In other situations, the doctor was slow to act on signs and symptoms of fetal distress. This can lead to emergency deliveries that put moms at an increased risk for injury.

We are here to help

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by OB/GYN, midwife, hospital, or nursing care, then the experienced medical malpractice and birth injury attorneys at Painter Law Firm, in Houston, Texas, are here to help. Click here to send us a confidential email via our “Contact Us” form or call us at 281-580-8800.

All consultations are free and, because we only represent clients on a contingency fee, you will owe us nothing unless we win your case. We handle cases in the Houston area and all over Texas. We are currently working on medical malpractice lawsuits in Houston, The Woodlands, Sugar Land, Conroe, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Bryan/College Station, and Waco.


Robert Painter is a medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm PLLC, in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits against hospitals, physicians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other healthcare providers. A member of the board of directors of the Houston Bar Association, he was honored, in 2017, by H Texas as one of Houston’s top lawyers. In May 2018, the Better Business Bureau recognized Painter Law Firm PLLC with its Award of Distinction.

Robert Painter

Robert Painter is a medical malpractice lawyer at Painter Law Firm PLLC.


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