Though most Americans like to believe that their country’s health care system and the health care they receive is the best in the world, the reality is actually quite different. Most Americans are confident they are always going to receive world-class care because of the price tag, and people like to think that they get what they pay for. In fact, America’s health system is the most expensive in the world, but this doesn’t necessarily translate to the best or most safe care. In light of the pandemic, America’s flaws when it comes to health care have become ever more apparent.
It is doubtless that health care professionals and members are dedicated, compassionate people, and it’s important to note that individuals within the system are not, necessarily, to blame for the faults in America’s healthcare system. Rather, it is the system itself, however, that makes medical errors the third-leading cause of death in America, following only heart disease and cancer. This frightening statistic is about death, however, and does not include the countless injuries, many of which can be life-long and debilitating, which may also result due to medical error, whether this is due to misdiagnosis, the wrong medication being given, or delayed medical attention.
A particular pain point for America’s healthcare system is maternal care. This not only includes pregnancy-related injury and death to the mother but also the infant being born. According to the most recent scientific study on the subject, the rate of injuries that occur at birth in America ranges from .2 to 37 per 1,000 births. This sobering statistic stresses the importance of understanding one’s rights and duties as a patient and soon-to-be parent, including researching birth injury malpractice to be prepared for a worst-case scenario.
Americans are right to hope for the best and believe in the healthcare they receive, but it’s also important to be armed with the knowledge of how often injuries, including the rate of birth injuries, happen, so they can be prepared if things go wrong. When it comes to maternal care, traumatic labor can sometimes result in lifelong issues for both mother, child, and even fathers. These issues can be psychological (like dealing with PTSD); physical, such as a disability like cerebral palsy; and financial, due to the cost of paying for the therapy, care, and medications these issues will require. The criticalness of being prepared and knowing one’s options with regard to medical malpractice and birth injury malpractice is paramount when interacting with America’s healthcare system. One should not wait until it’s too late to be knowledgeable in this area — it could be the difference between life and death.