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Medical malpractice errors a factor in maternal mortality

Maternal mortality rates have been increasing in the United States. A number of factors, including medical malpractice, are thought to be to blame. A Pennsylvania program called Safe Start aims to help mothers find resources to meet medical and social needs.

The Centers for Disease Control finds that maternal mortality rates have been increasing for at least the past two decades, even as infant mortality rates are on the decline. As medical systems become more fragmented, new mothers, especially those lacking good health insurance, find it harder to get appropriate care. When symptoms are missed or obstetric emergencies are not treated properly, the risk of maternal death increases.

Programs like Safe Start spring up to fill the gaps in medical care. The program offers a case manager to new mothers. The caseworker helps the mother get to physician appointments, sign up for nutrition benefits and offers support through labor and delivery in hopes that the increased attention will reduce preventable pregnancy-related issues, such as preeclampsia. The wider approach of the Safe Start program works by improving health outcomes for the family by serving a variety of needs.

Programs such as Safe Start are a blessing to mothers and their children. But Pennsylvania families are entitled to receive appropriate care from their physicians with or without the presence of a caseworker. An injured person, or the family of a person who died as the result of medical malpractice, has the right to sue for damages. A lawyer can be an important tool for mothers and families seeking justice for mishandled medical care.

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