Monday, April 25, 2011

Sunday's Letter to the Editor

Thank you to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune for printing my letter on Easter Sunday. I am hopeful that many readers will take action.

Regarding pediatrician Sean Palfrey's column "How patients can help doctors practice better, less costly medicine":

No discipline best illustrates the American medical trend of over-intervention than maternity care.

Despite spending more on maternity care than any other nation (about $98 billion annually), the U.S. ranks an abysmal 50th in maternal mortality, the World Health Organization reports.

Why are two to three American women dying of pregnancy- or childbirth-related causes every day? Because their care falls on one extreme or the other of appropriate. Many women are not receiving prenatal or postpartum care at all. On the spectrum's other end, many are receiving dangerous intervention that exceeds what is medically necessary for a healthy birth outcome.

What can we do? To start, we can adequately count the women who are dying, and discern their causes of death. Florida is one of only 21 states that has a check box on a woman's death certificate to note whether she was pregnant or recently pregnant when she died. The Maternal Health Accountability Act of 2011 aims to change that, making a nationwide data collecting system that establishes maternal death review boards in all states. I strongly urge you to contact your elected officials and convey your support of this bill.

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