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Twenty Percent of Women Mistreated During Maternity Care

New Report By The Centers For Disease Control Indicates 1 out of 5 women Report Being Mistreated By Medical Staff During Pregnancy

Twenty Percent of Women Mistreated During Maternity Care

NEW YORK, NEW YORK (August 28, 2023) – A new report by the Centers for Disease Control revealed nearly 20% of all women reported being mistreated by medical staff during pregnancy.

The report highlighted a number of the issues that pregnant women were having. This included verbal abuse, having their privacy infringed upon and receiving threats of withholding treatment.

Approximately 2,400 women participated in the survey. Women reported being discriminated against due to their age, weight, income, and race and ethnicity.

The Centers for Disease Control made a number of recommendations to prevent mistreatment. This included hiring a diverse workforce and better communicating with patients.

There are growing concerns that mistreatment may negatively impact maternal mortality rates.  What remains clear is that more work needs to be done to understand the depth of the problem.

Liability For Mistreatment By Medical Professionals

Other studies have supported the CDC’s finding that pregnant women are commonly mistreated by healthcare workers. According to the Journal of Perinatal Education, “Mistreatment of women during pregnancy and childbirth continues to define our American way of birth in spite of decades of awareness and concern. The Giving Voice to Mothers study identifies the incidence of mistreatment of childbearing women in the United States, the factors that increase a woman’s risk of being mistreated including socio economic and racial characteristics, place of birth, and health-care provider.” There are many steps that hospital should take to reduce patient mistreatment.

  • All instances of patient abuse should be thoroughly investigated.
  • Healthcare workers should never dismiss the concerns of their patients.
  • Hospitals should regularly ask patients what they thought about the care they received.

Patient mistreatment is not only disrespectful, it can also lead to many adverse outcomes. For pregnant women, this can affect both the mother and child. If a pregnant woman and/or her child are injured or killed during the pregnancy or childbirth process, this may have been the result of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or hospital deviates from the applicable standard of care. There is no single standard of care for any health-care field. However, a doctor’s or hospital’s standard of care is met when a doctor or hospital with an equivalent skill set would have followed the same procedures and guidelines under identical circumstances. There are four elements that must be shown in order to demonstrate liability for a medical malpractice claim.

  • A Duty of Care Was Owed: The doctor-patient relationship typically means that a duty of care is owed. In most situations, it is not that difficult to establish that a doctor or hospital owed a patient a duty of care.
  • A Duty of Care Was Breached: A doctor isn’t necessarily negligent if their efforts are not successful. Rather, for a breach to be established, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the standard of care they were given differed substantially from what prudent medical peers would do in the same situation.
  • Proximate Cause: The breach of care must have been the proximate cause of the patient’s injuries.
  • Damages: The injury sustained by the patient must have caused actual damages.

Adverse care during a women’s pregnancy can have long-term negative health outcomes for women and children. For example, injuries during childbirth can lead to severe neurological defects. It can be difficult to know what to do after any instance of medical neglect or malpractice. To make matters worse, hospitals will virtually never admit that they did anything wrong. Any person that is injured due to the neglect of medical professionals may be able to seek some measure of justice through a medical malpractice claim.

Getting Legal Help After Mistreatment By Medical Professionals

We at Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. extend our best wishes to all of the women who have been mistreated by healthcare workers during their pregnancy. Hospitals need to understand that mistreatment is not only unethical, it can cause real world harm. It is our sincere hope that steps are taken to reduce the mistreatment of pregnant women by healthcare workers.

Have you or someone that you care about been mistreated by healthcare workers? There are a number of laws designed to protect your rights. We care deeply that victims of medical malpractice are aware of their rights and that those rights are being protected. Whether you just have legal questions or are thinking about hiring an attorney we are here for you. You can reach out to us anytime at (516) 908-9792.


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Jeff Korek

Jeff S. Korek

Senior Trial Partner​

Jeff S. Korek joined Gersowitz Libo & Korek, P.C. in 1992 as the Senior Trial partner. Known for his meticulous preparation and dedication to his clients, Jeff has obtained some of the state’s highest verdicts and settlements.