Complications During Pregnancy, Such As Uterine Rupture, Put Mother At Risk
Every day in the United States, more than two women die from pregnancy complications. An Amnesty International 2010 report (Deadly Delivery: The Maternal Health Care Crisis in the USA) revealed that women in the United States have a higher lifetime risk of dying from pregnancy complications than women in 40 other countries.
A woman’s chance of dying in childbirth in the United States is five times higher than in Greece, four times higher than in Germany, and three times higher in Spain.
This is despite the fact that the United States spends more on healthcare than any other country in the world with $86 billion/year spent on hospitalization related to pregnancy/childbirth.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) acknowledges that although maternal mortality declined over the 20th century, there has been little decline over the past 20 years. And, Amnesty International reports that the maternal mortality rates in the United States are actually getting worse – from a low of 6.6 deaths/100,000 live births in 1987 to 13.3 deaths/100,000 live births in 2006.
The five main causes of maternal death in the United States are:
- Embolism (blood clot) – 20%
- Hemorrhage – (blood loss) – 17%
- Pre-Eclampsia and Eclampsia (associated with high blood pressure) – 16%
- Infection – 13%
- Cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease) – 8%
- Uterine rupture is when the wall of the uterus tears, usually at the site of a previous C-section incision because it is more sensitive to the stress of contractions. It is a rare birth complication that has a high incidence of fetal and maternal death.
More common is uterine scar dehiscence, which is separation of the preexisting C-section scar that does not disrupt the uterine serosa and does not bleed significantly. Risk factors for uterine scar dehiscence include: having had five or more children, having a placenta implanted too deep in the uterine wall, having an overdistended uterus, having contractions that are too forceful and frequent, and having a prolonged labor with a baby that is too large for the mother’s pelvis.
Although it is possible for an unscarred uterus to rupture, the incidence is less than once in 15,000 pregnancies. Treatment for uterine rupture involves either repairing the uterus or performing a hysterectomy if the damage is too extensive or if bleeding cannot be controlled. If a uterine rupture is not properly treated, massive blood loss can occur which can lead to shock and death of the mother.
A known risk, requiring careful monitoring of mother during labor and delivery
In September 2007, Diane Rizk McCabe bled to death after doctors at Albany Medical Center either cut or tore her uterine arteries during a Cesarean section. Ms. McCabe was 32-years-old and pregnant with her second child (she already had a 6-year-old son). Her pregnancy had progressed normally and she arrived at the hospital expecting a vaginal birth.
After ten hours of labor, the obstetrician performed a Caesarean section to deliver the couple’s daughter, Jenna. However, Ms. McCabe’s uterine arteries were either cut or torn during the procedure, which caused extensive internal bleeding. Ms. McCabe continued to bleed for fifteen more hours, when doctors tried to decide what action to take. In the end, the blood loss proved too massive, and Ms. McCabe died.
The widower, a police officer, settled his case for 5.2 million dollars. Mr. McCabe also insisted that the medical center fund a Dian McCabe Memorial Quality Lecture to improve patient safety for the next twenty years.
If your spouse or child suffered from a uterine rupture or similar injury during child birth, please give us a call for free legal consultation today regarding your potential claim. Our legal consultations are always free and confidential. .