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Specifically, Black women were found to be four times more likely to die, whilst maternal mortality amongst mixed race and Asian women was also found to be two times and almost two times higher, respectively.
Heart disease, epilepsy and stroke were the leading causes of maternal death during or up to six weeks after the end of pregnancy. Meanwhile, sepsis and thrombosis and blood clots are the third and fourth most common causes.
The findings have once again brought attention to the issue of racial inequality within maternal healthcare, with calls being made for more to be done to tackle this.
Whilst the overall risk of maternal mortality in the UK is reassuringly small, the discrepancies in outcome between different races is both shocking and significant.
Amy Gibbs, Chief Executive of Birthrights
Amy Gibbs, the Chief Executive of Birthrights, a UK charity that champions respectful maternity care by protecting human rights, described the MBRACE report as painting a “bleak picture.”
Whilst the report does not address why there is such a significant difference in outcomes, Birthrights are carrying out an inquiry into how racial bias and systemic racism impacts on maternity outcome and experiences. To date, the charity has received multiple reports of mothers from ethnic minority backgrounds feeling unsafe, their concerns being ignored or dismissed, denial of pain relief due to racial stereotypes, and pervasive microaggressions causing harm or distress. Their testimony has been backed up by healthcare professionals.
Alongside this, an All-Party Parliamentary Group has been set up to raise awareness of the issue of racial disparities within maternal healthcare and offer solutions to end this.
Jackson Lees has successfully represented many women from minority backgrounds who have fallen victim to negligent care, including within maternity units.
Roneeta Sait, a solicitor within the Clinical Negligence Department, explains: “A problem commonly experienced by the clients that we have represented, in addition to those which have been identified by Birthrights, is where medical staff fail to appropriately respond to language and cultural barriers, meaning that patients who do not speak English as a first language are left unable to effectively communicate with, or understand their care and treatment providers, leaving them in dangerous and vulnerable situations, particularly when complications arise.
“We strongly feel that it is the responsibility of medical staff to identify where language and cultural boundaries may be problematic and identify an appropriate strategy for management of this at an early stage.”
Our firm considers itself leaders in the fight for justice and equality. We have represented hundreds of clients from black and minority backgrounds, whether this be within our Clinical Negligence Department or in other departments such as discrimination, immigration and dating back to work that the firm conducted in the 1980s representing Black families in the wake of the Toxteth uprising.
Our clients can expect a high standard of client care, including, where needed, the assistance of translators or intermediaries to ensure that they are fully supported through the legal process.
If you or a loved one has been affected by substandard medical treatment, you may be able to claim medical negligence compensation to help you move on from this mistake and put your life back together.
If you have been injured by a medical professional, we are here to help you.
What we can do for you…
If you feel you may have been mistreated medically, or if someone you care about has, please contact our dedicated team on 0808 159 8144 for a confidential chat with a legal expert.
This content was originally published here.