Is Maternal Medical Care Worse in Rural Areas in Ohio? July 4, 2024.

Is Maternal Medical Care Worse in Rural Areas in Ohio?

For many people in Ohio, the closest access to emergency medical care is a rural hospital. With fewer patients and less oversight than urban hospitals, these places are frequently understaffed and have poor training protocol for new employees.

Keep reading to explore how this affects mothers and babies during birth and how to know if your child was injured as a result of medical negligence during labor and delivery.

Potential Problems With Rural Hospitals 

When it comes to obstetrics, many rural hospitals don’t have a birthing center or qualified staff to help deliver babies. In Ohio, between 25-50% of rural hospitals are not able to provide adequate maternity or birth care and must transfer patients to other facilities that are better equipped.

In a labor and delivery emergency when minutes count, the time it takes to move a patient or even call someone to come in from another hospital can mean the difference between life, death, and permanent brain damage for a child.

Many women simply opt to travel to the next closest hospital with a delivery center, but this increases the risk of complications and the chances of delivering on the road. In fact, the rate of mortality for rural mothers giving birth is almost double the rate for urban women who reside in cities. This number is even higher for Black women in rural areas:

  1. Urban maternal death rate -- 14.6 per 100,000 births
  2. Rural maternal death rate -- 23.8 per 100,000 births
  3. Black/rural maternal death rate: 59.3 per 100,000 births

This weighs even more heavily when you consider the fact that over 80% of maternal deaths in America are considered completely preventable according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Identifying Inadequate Maternal Medical Care 

Knowing what is and isn’t appropriate in the context of medical care during delivery can be challenging for parents, especially if they are going through the process for the first time. This puts patients in a position of vulnerability that often leads to poor outcomes.

For example, the CDC also reports that 20% of all pregnant and birthing women say they have been mistreated by a medical professional. Because of this, as many as 45% of women say they didn’t feel comfortable asking a question or were afraid to press an issue that was important to them.

Here are just a few of the most common indicators that a mother may be receiving inadequate medical care during birth:

  1. Medical professionals dismiss the concerns of the patient or family members
  2. They refuse to read the family’s birth plan or discuss their desires
  3. They decline to answer questions or give vague answers that don’t apply 
  4. They are slow to respond to the patient’s needs
  5. They neglect to adequately monitor the patient or the baby for fetal distress during labor
  6. The patient isn’t informed of what will happen or why certain procedures are used
  7. The patient is not asked for consent before they are touched
  8. The patient is denied adequate and timely pain relief

What to Do If You, a Family Member, or Your Baby Were Hurt During Birth

Coming to terms with the fact that you or a loved one were the victim of a preventable medical error when you should have been celebrating one of the most joyous occasions of your life can be challenging. It’s important that you act quickly before hospitals and the medical professionals involved in your case have an opportunity to hide or discard evidence.

Start by gathering medical records from the hospital your child was born at and from any pediatricians they saw afterwards. Ideally, you should be able to get the clinical notes that were written by the doctor who saw your baby as well as the standard data about their length, weight, heart rate, blood pressure, and other vitals. 

How The Mellino Law Firm Can Help

At The Mellino Law Firm, we know how devastating a birth injury can be. If you or a family member were treated poorly by medical staff at a rural hospital during pregnancy or labor and delivery, we can help. Our qualified Ohio birth injury lawyers will zealously advocate for your right to receive compensation and to hold negligent medical providers accountable.

Contact us today to schedule your free consultation at (440) 333-3800 or fill out our quick online form here and our team will get back to you to answer your important questions.