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Maternal death and injury report triggers Congressional action

Many advances that have improved safety for mothers and babies during labor and delivery have taken place over the course of the past several generations. Because of this some people in Washington State might find it easy to forget that childbirth is a major medical event, one that may include complications and emergencies and the need for prompt response. A report published this summer by USA Today highlights that, despite medical advances, too many mothers die or experience serious injuries while giving birth to their children.

The report indicated that as many as 700 maternal deaths and more than 50,000 serious injuries to mothers occur every year. In response to these alarming statistics, the House Committee on Ways and Means has ordered the country's 15 largest health care systems to provide important documentation on this matter. One of the health care systems that is part of this investigation is Providence St. Joseph Health in Renton, Washington.

Together, the systems were involved in about 20 percent of all U.S. childbirths in 2015 across more than 900 hospitals. By November 15, each entity must reply to Congress and provide details on how many births took place at their facilities last year. In addition, they must indicate how many mothers were injured or died during childbirth. Data segmentation by race is also a requirement as injuries and deaths are more common among women of African American descent than among white women.

While preparing its report, USA reached out to 75 hospitals across the country asking for their feedback on adherence to safety protocols during childbirth but received no responses.


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