The United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates compared to developed countries with similar resources. Many of these deaths are avoidable. One example: deaths related to VTE.
What is VTE? Venous thromboembolism (VTE) occurs when a blood clot forms deep within the venous system of a patient's leg, groin or arm. This clot then travels throughout the circulatory system. Complications arise when the clot reaches the lungs, resulting in a pulmonary embolism (PE).
The United States continues to struggle to manage this medical complication. Recent data from the Nationwide Inpatient Sample show VTEs connected to childbirth have increased by 72 percent from 1998 to 2009.
How are VTEs connected to maternal mortality in the U.S.? Maternal deaths connected to VTEs are generally the result of a PE that occurs after a cesarean delivery. However, it is also important to note those who delivery vaginally can also suffer from this complication.
Risk factors include:
- Advanced maternal age
A patient history of a previous VTE is also a risk factor for future complications of this nature.
What can patients do to reduce the risk of a VTE or PE? Patients can take active steps to reduce the risk by seeking prenatal and postnatal care as needed.
What if a patient suffers from a VTE? Unfortunately, even those who are proactive about their medical care can suffer from complications. Legal remedies are available if the complication is the result of a medical professional's negligent care. An attorney experienced in representing parties injured during the labor and delivery process can review your case and discuss the best course of action to better ensure you receive the legal remedies you are entitled.