The Widdershins

Archive for August 2nd, 2017

Fair warning Widdershins. This post is not for the faint of heart. There will be blood (and the measuring of) and hemorrhages and rouge placentas. Among the myriad of other women’s issues ignored, we have a an inexplicable rise in maternal mortality rates. Or maybe it’s not inexplicable at all – our legislators just don’t care.

C_0ahJNVYAACaOIStudies have shown that the US has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world. This NPR article mostly centers around one woman, but covers the stunning statistics. Lauren (who was a neonatal intensive care nurse) has a normal delivery and a few hours later is dead from a pretty common condition. Preeclampsia. They paid little attention to her dangerously rising blood pressure. When she complained of pain in the upper abdomen, they gave her an antacid. Her death could have been prevented with only an anti-hypertensive drug and magnesium sulfate. That’s just one woman with one condition. We’re woefully behind. (my bold)

American women are more than three times as likely as Canadian women to die in the maternal period (defined by the Centers for Disease Control as the start of pregnancy to one year after delivery or termination), six times as likely to die as Scandinavians. In every other wealthy country, and many less affluent ones, maternal mortality rates have been falling; in Great Britain, the journal Lancet recently noted, the rate has declined so dramatically that “a man is more likely to die while his partner is pregnant than she is.” But in the U.S., maternal deaths increased from 2000 to 2014. In a recent analysis by the CDC Foundation, nearly 60 percent of such deaths are preventable.

It’s a long article and a lot of it is about Lauren’s personal history and her husband’s reaction. But it covers many issues. While infant mortality has fallen, maternal deaths are soaring. This can no longer be ignored. There is hope. California (naturally) is leading the way. California decided it was tired of women bleeding to death during childbirth.

Dr David Legrew was mostly concerned with deaths from hemorrhaging, especially prevalent in women who had C-sections in previous deliveries. But it doesn’t take a genius to know birthing centers should be equipped with emergency items. A “hemorrhage toolkit”.

One key idea in the hemorrhage toolkit was to make sure hospitals were armed with all the best protocols and necessary tools that might save those moms’ lives in the event of a bleed.

At St. Joseph hospital, Lagrew showed me a simple beige, waist-high rolling cart with four drawers and red handles, known as “the hemorrhage cart.” Every hospital delivering babies should have one, the CMQCC toolkit says. The cart is filled with everything to manage a hemorrhage: medicines that slow the flow of blood, instruments that repair a tear or laceration, intrauterine balloons that can provide pressure and control bleeding from a uterus that isn’t contracting well.

“Minutes count, so you can’t afford to be thinking, ‘Hey, what med do I need to use next? Where do I find a balloon catheter to stop the bleed?’” Lagrew says.

Is that too much to ask? Better training and having what you need at hand?

I don’t think anyone will be surprised that the rates of death are much higher in Texas. I don’t think anyone will be surprised it’s 3Xs higher for black women. In fact, one study DFsMEjLVoAErtfOhad to separate Texas from their study because it skewed the results so badly. What do you expect from a state that defunds PP, closes PP and other abortion clinics, enacts restrictive abortion laws and refuses to expand Medicaid? (Like my own state)

A University of Maryland study released last year showed the mortality rate had doubled from 2010 to 2012. Plus this:

There were some changes in the provision of women’s health services in Texas from 2011 to 2015, including the closing of several women’s health clinics. Still, in the absence of war, natural disaster, or severe economic upheaval, the doubling of a mortality ratewithin a 2-year period in a state with almost 400,000 annual births seems unlikely. A future study will examine Texas data by race–ethnicity and detailed causes of death to better understand this unusual finding.

I wouldn’t normally link to a local (Texas) TV station (in fact the video is worthless), but I did want to share this:

State Rep. Shawn Thierry sought to look into one particularly disturbing trend that the Texas task force had found: Black women make up 11 percent of births, but 28 percent of death. Thierry, a Democrat from Houston, wanted to compare the risk of black women in different income brackets.

But Thierry’s bill – which was backed by the Texas Medical Association and American Heart Association – died along with a parade of other proposals after tea party-backed lawmakers, protesting a lack of movement of their own pet issues, used a House procedural maneuver to kill every bill on a legislative calendar that wasn’t supposed to generate debate.

“We haven’t done enough,” Thierry said.

And did I mention that this year’s session has ended so lawmakers will have to wait until they reconvene in 2019 to address the issue. What?! WTH Texas? Well, I’m sure they will eventually get around to it little ladies.

So let’s take inventory. All over the country, states are defunding and closing Planned Parenthood and other clinics, passing anti-abortion laws, trying to pass legislation so no employer has to provide insurance to cover birth control, hoping to remove pre-natal, neo-natal, etc. care from insurance policies (now guaranteed by the ACA). I’m sure I’m forgetting a few things. Help me out.

I’d just like to ask them – if you’re going to force women to have more children and brush off maternal deaths, who in the hell do you think will raise the children? These people are exhausting.

I don’t want to go too long, so I’ll add some other thoughts and links in the comments.

Open thread. (otherwise known as ‘what fresh hell did we wake up to today?’)


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Our 2016 Ticket!

Our girl is gonna shine

Busted: Glass ceiling

HRC bumper sticker

She’s thinking “Less than 2 weeks I have to keep seeing that face”

Yeah I can make it

The team we’re on

Women’s March on Washington!

Right-click the pic for more info

Kellyanne Conway’s new job

So similar

Take the kids to work? NO!

3 turds control fate of healthcare for millions

That moment when *your* pussy gets grabbed

You go gurl! h/t Adam Joseph