American health care failing new mothers

Interesting article from Pro Publica, which discusses why the USA is so bad at maternal health:

The answer seems to be the obvious thing that makes the US health care system different from the rest of the world. Its fragmentation and lack of focus on preventative measures feed directly into these deaths.

Treating this as a public health crisis, rather than a series of individual tragedies is what will resolve this crisis,as other nations have shown.


I read this piece recently and it is excellent, and sad. Great work from ProPublica!


That is horrific.

Just for contrast:

A former manager of mine went in for a standard appointment shortly before her due date for her second child: IIRC she had two weeks before her planned mat leave (which itself was at least a week before the actual due date). She showed up to work after, called a team meeting, and explained she had been diagnosed with what she referred to as “pre-pre-eclampsia” – the doctor didn’t like where her blood pressure was heading and ordered immediate bed rest.

She wasn’t allowed to work from home, doctor’s orders, but since she’d already planned her mat leave, things were pretty organised anyway. Mat leave in Canada is 12 months, so we had expected to be without her for a while.

She spent maybe an hour and a half at work, informing her managers and team, grabbing a few personal items, and then left. There was extra care and appointments to check her blood pressure, she gave birth around the due date (don’t know all the details), and dropped by the office a few weeks later so we could meet the baby.

Two things: one, she had a government-backed mat leave that took the stress and guesswork out of whether or not she could take the required time off work. There are official people to argue on your behalf if an employer doesn’t understand this (it happens anyhow sometimes, but things are set up such that it’s not supposed to).

Two, she never actually got pre-eclampsia. There were just signs she could, and that was enough to act. For doctors to do nothing while they wait for labs to come back… I can’t even. There are other symptoms, some of which are mentioned in the article.


The system works as designed: to force women to carry babies to term. What happens during labor & delivery, or after the birth, don’t matter in the slightest.



I imagine any time news about how shabby health care is in the US reaches Canada or Europe that the readers find themselves horrified. At least I kinda hope so. 'Cause it’s horrifying.


It is, but it’s also partly horrifying because the US is so advanced in so many areas of medical research and practice.


I remember seeing a graphic a few years back (pre-ACA) showing that you pay more in taxes for healthcare (e.g. Medicare) than we do, then have to buy insurance, and it still doesn’t cover everyone.

I have no idea how anyone survives over there.


Pro-life you know…


I live here and it is indeed. The biggest problem is there is so much money tied up in keeping it the way it is, that any kind of real change would be like rebuilding a country after a war. It will take a complete destruction of the system before we can get real single payer in the US


I live here, too, just within escape range to Canuckistan.


Its leaves me speechless. I just don’t understand how you live with the day to day stress.

I mean no wonder no one lets their kids play outside anymore. If they fell climbing a tree and broke their arm the average working family would be bankrupt! Its nuts. No wonder y’all don’t live as long as us. Just the stress alone!

I do not understand how Trump can cut 700 BILLION from science and healthcare. Thats literally insane.
Honestly, if you guys revolt, I’ll send you money to fight him. Cuz this is nuts!


It is nuts. People literally choose to die from cancer here because it would bankrupt their family to get treatment. Old people are choosing to purchase food or medications, they don’t have income for both. And then you have the morally bankrupt jackasses in the House trying to make things even worse for everyone except themselves (note how they make damned sure to preserve their gold-plated healthcare-for-life-after-two-terms-in-office plans).


I am jealous that you can escape easily.


Detroit’s got a really big metro area. You could come live in America’s most shat upon city, too!