How Birth Injury Possibility Plays a Role in Minority Healthcare

The arrival of a new baby should be one of the happiest moments in a mother’s life. An unfortunate reality is that many women and infants don’t receive the quality care that they should and are subject to birth injuries and other illnesses—an occurrence particularly prevalent among minority groups.

Understanding this issue can help us make informed decisions and take better care of those around us. In this article, we’ll define birth injury, cover some statistics, outline causes of inequality in healthcare, and talk about how you can help your family and loved ones stay safe.

What Are Birth Injuries?

This type of injury refers to any harm sustained by an infant during the process of childbirth. These injuries can range from minor bruises to severe conditions like cerebral palsy or Erb’s palsy. Understanding what constitutes a birth injury is crucial for recognizing when medical and legal interventions may be necessary.

Many birth injuries result from complications during delivery, such as prolonged labor, use of forceps, or failure to perform a timely C-section. These injuries can have lifelong consequences, affecting the child’s physical and cognitive development.

Concerning Numbers

Inequality in healthcare is a long-standing issue, and it’s important to be aware of just how serious the discrepancy is between minority and majority groups. In this section, we’ll discuss a few maternal and infant care statistics:

  • The maternal mortality rate has been growing for all groups in recent years but is particularly high for minorities. In 2021, the maternal mortality rate for Black women was a shocking 2.6 times the rate for White women (69.9 vs. 32.9, per 100,000 live births).
  • In 2020, there was a similar gap in the infant mortality rate between groups, with a rate of 10.4 for Black infants and 4.4 for White infants (per 1000 live births).

These numbers are deeply troubling, and understanding how and why they came about can help us identify solutions and help us get on a better path.

Why are Birth Injuries More Prevalent in Minority Communities?

Minority women have long struggled to receive the high-quality healthcare they deserve, and unfortunately, this problem has persisted into today.

Social and Economic Factors

Due to complicated systemic issues, social and economic factors play a significant role in the prevalence of birth injuries among minority groups.

Many minority families lack access to quality healthcare due to financial constraints, leading to inadequate prenatal care: the cost of healthcare can force expectant mothers to forgo essential check-ups and screenings. Additionally, some minority families are more likely to live in medically underserved areas, where healthcare facilities are scarce and often under-resourced.

Prevalent Racism in Healthcare

Racism in healthcare is a pervasive issue that significantly impacts the quality of care received by minority patients. Studies have shown that racial bias can influence medical decisions and that some healthcare professionals do not recognize the unique medical needs of different groups. This leads to an increased risk of injuries and poor maternal care.

Chronic Stress

Chronic stress resulting from social and economic factors as well as racism within healthcare can also contribute to birth injury. Minority women often experience higher levels of stress due to financial instability, discrimination, and lack of social support. This chronic stress can have adverse effects on pregnancy and childbirth.

Stress-related conditions like hypertension and preeclampsia are more prevalent among minority women, further highlighting the link between chronic stress and birth injuries. Addressing the root causes of stress is essential for improving maternal and infant health in minority communities.

Lack of Education on Rights

Many minority women are not fully aware of their healthcare rights, which can leave them vulnerable to substandard care. A lack of education on rights means that many women do not know how to advocate for themselves or challenge medical decisions. This knowledge gap can have serious consequences, including delayed interventions and increased risk of birth injury.

How to Stay Informed

The unequal treatment of women in healthcare situations is an issue that has persisted for many years among all groups.

Surveys and studies indicate that women are less likely to receive medications (and have to wait longer when they do get them), are diagnosed later, and are more likely to be told their pain or concerns aren’t legitimate. Fifty percent of women feel that this gap is a real and serious issue, and many have had negative healthcare experiences because of their gender. 

While it may not fix everything, the first step to a more fair healthcare experience is being knowledgeable about your rights. This is crucial to reducing negative medical outcomes like a birth injury, so here are three steps to help you stay in the know:

1. Read Up on the “No Surprises Act” and Other Legislation

The “No Surprises Act” is a crucial piece of legislation that protects patients from unexpected medical bills. By understanding the ins and outs of this act, you can better manage your healthcare costs. Research other laws and legislations so that you stay informed about your rights and know when to speak up.

2. Ask Questions

If you are prescribed or denied a medical procedure or treatment, you have the right to ask why. Always seek clarity on medical decisions and ensure that you understand the reasoning behind them so you can be taken care of in the way you wish. This practice can help you make informed choices about your healthcare.

3. Bring a Witness

Bring a trusted family member or friend to appointments whenever possible—having a second person by your side during can provide additional support and advocacy. A witness can help ensure that your concerns are heard and that you receive the care you deserve.

Protect Your Rights with PMHP

At PMHP, our skilled lawyers have helped our clients receive significant amounts of compensation for their loss or injury because no one deserves to be mistreated or improperly cared for.We care about you and your family, which is why we work hard to protect you and your rights. If you are experiencing the saddening results of birth injuries within your family, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We want to help you regain the justice, dignity, and safety you should’ve gotten in the first place.