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Lack of communication can lead to pregnancy-related injuries

Pregnancy and childbirth is beautiful, but it is important that Pennsylvanian women are properly treated throughout the process. Unfortunately, as the following examples show, women are not always treated properly and suffer pregnancy-related injuries.

One woman went for a routine check-up at 40-weeks pregnant. Her doctor probed her cervix -- without first explaining the procedure or obtaining consent -- to stimulate labor. She subsequently went through 27 hours of labor and ended up needing a Cesarean Section (C-section). She then suffered from an infection, which fortunately was mild. However, her newborn child was placed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) immediately after birth, and it was 24 hours before she was reunited with her child.

Another woman, at 41-weeks pregnant spent three days in the hospital, and when she experienced highly elevated blood pressure, her doctors elected to perform a C-section. During the procedure, she could feel the scalpel slicing her, so the doctors administrated general anesthesia. When she came to, she subsequently developed an infection. Her infant was in the NICU, and she could not be with her infant for three days.

A third woman was in labor when her doctors stopped her epidural to allow the woman an easier time pushing. The woman tore and lost a lot of blood. Her doctors gave her painkillers, so they could stich the tear. But, it did not work. Moreover, gauze was put in her vagina to stop the bleeding, but no one told the woman they had done so, nor was she given a bracelet that would have allowed staff members to know she had gauze in her. They also did not give her a catheter. And, the woman suffered from pain for five hours before being catheterized.

These situations are traumatic, but they are unfortunately not rare, especially among African-American women. One professional believes that to make childbirth safer, medical staff needs to listen to pregnant women, women in labor and women who have just given birth, and treat them humanely. In the end, pregnancy-related injuries, like those above, are often preventable. Those who experience situations in which they were injured by the acts of medical professionals may take the steps necessary to protect their legal rights.

Source: WNYC, "Black Mothers Face Higher Complication Rates When Delivering Babies in NYC," Jan. 16, 2017

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