In this week's News Roundup:
- Near-Miss Mothers: For Every Woman Who Dies Post-Childbirth, Thousands More Come Close
- Surging Opioid Overdose Rate in Latinos Tied to Language Barriers
- More Transgender-Inclusive Healthcare is Essential
Near-Miss Mothers: For Every Woman Who Dies Post-Childbirth, Thousands More Come Close
The maternal mortality rates in the U.S. are grim, but the number of women who suffer postpartum complications that nearly cause death are even worse. For every woman who dies after childbirth, at least 70 come close. Some estimates put the number of women who suffer "severe maternal morbidity" at around 80,000 per year. A report by NPR/ProPublica finds that many of these complications are preventable, and there's a common theme that postpartum mothers don't feel their concerns are taken seriously by healthcare providers.
From the article:
"I was rocking Diana in my rocking chair here in the living room, and when I stood up, blood [had] soaked through me onto the chair," [Alicia Nichols] says.
Her first reaction was to call an ambulance. "I don't think I'm the type to overreact. It was just so foreign to me," she says.
In the emergency room, the obstetrics resident who came over quickly chalked it up to natural postpartum bleeding, something that didn't merit the ultrasound Nichols was requesting.
"I felt that she was just dismissing me, annoyed, a new mother being paranoid of some blood. I felt like she was not listening at all," Nichols says.
"Near-miss mothers" share their stories in this video:
Watch an emotional clip from HBO's Being Serena, in which Serena Williams describes her traumatic postpartum experience.
Surging Opioid Overdose Rate in Latinos Tied to Language Barriers
In Massachusetts, the number of Latinos overdosing from opioid use has doubled in three years, nearly twice the rate for whites and blacks. Latino overdose rates are rising nationwide as well. One reason for the disparity may be language and cultural barriers, underscoring the need for improved interpreter services throughout the healthcare system.
From the article:
[Irma Bermudez, a recovering addict] says the language barrier keeps anyone who can't read English out of treatment from the start, as they try to decipher websites or brochures that advertise options. If they call a number on the screen or walk into an office, "there's no translation — we're not going to get nothing out of it," Bermudez says....
Some of the Latinos interviewed for this story describe sitting through group counseling sessions, part of virtually every treatment program, and not being able to follow much, if any, of the conversation. They recall waiting for a translator to arrive for their individual appointment with a doctor or counselor and missing the session when the translator is late or doesn't show up at all.
More Transgender-Inclusive Healthcare is Essential
Transgender people make up approximately 2% of the population in the U.S. As a group, they are disproportionately affected by mental health issues, with 42% reporting experiencing depression, and 36% reporting suicidal thoughts. New data from the Colorado Transgender Health Survey shows that nearly 40% of transgender people delay seeking medical care, in part because they fear discrimination. Researchers stressed the need for more transgender-inclusive healthcare providers.
From the article:
Transgender people must overcome many practical barriers to access healthcare, such as discrimination or prohibitive costs. Locating specific healthcare providers who are transgender-inclusive in their practice is also a stumbling block. Many such patients never reveal their gender identities to their doctors....
On the positive side, the researchers found that there were definite benefits in having a transgender-inclusive health provider. Such providers greatly increased the chances that patients received wellness examinations and made them less hesitant to seek medical treatment because of the fear of discrimination. They were also less depressed and less likely to attempt suicide than patients who did not have access to a transgender-inclusive provider.