Special Note: The purpose of this post is to raise awareness about maternal mortality. If MollyROCK could have chosen themselves a Commissioner of Public Health for the state of Georgia, they could have picked no professional more qualified than Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald. She is an expert in women’s health, in fact members of our family have entrusted her with our care. She is attacking the issue head-on, and will produce positive changes for our state. We know that there are so many variables with maternal mortality including: abortion laws, population density, education levels, pre-existing conditions, and access to care. However, this organization is about open conversation. We want to bring this issue to the forefront. As a family who is engrossed in current events, civil rights, and health issues, we had no clue that maternal mortality was in such a dismal state in our country. We only learned by deliberate research and a close connection to the problem. We hope that we are able to help Georgia’s maternal mortality rate by sharing our story, and ensuring that people everywhere know that we are all charged with improving the statistics. For us, that means breaking down one of the barriers, fear of open discussion. We are not here to point fingers and lay blame, simply to bring some light, open lines of communication, and eradicate the stigma of discussing women’s reproductive issues.
Italy, Austria, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom.
This is not an itinerary of my summer vacation. This is not even my bucket list of places to visit. This is a short list of countries with maternal mortality rates that are exponentially lower than the United States. There are approximately 247 countries in the world, and America is on a list with 17 others whose maternal mortality rates are INCREASING. I haven’t found the complete list yet, but our country is among the ranks of Afghanistan, El Salvador, and South Sudan. Seriously. We are the only country in the world with an advanced economy who can’t lower our maternal mortality rate. I’m sorry, does this infuriate anyone else? With the help of Forbes, the CDC, PBS, and Marla Wilks, I have created a table that outlines some statistics:
We are finding ways to help people survive AIDS and cancer, but we can’t help people survive a phenomenon that has been occurring since the dawn of time?????? I am so confused by this. Let me make these things clear:
1. Molly’s cause of death was not ruled as related to maternal mortality.
2. Forbes describes the barriers to maternal health that were outlined in the Merck for Mothers panel. Shockingly, “Not telling anyone,” was not listed as one of those barriers. But, we want MollyROCK to be a springboard for all the facets that affected her death, and hemorrhaging was a main player.
3. In Georgia, in 2011, the statistics showed that there were 35 maternal deaths per 100,000 births. Yikes. Even more stomach turning? 94 out of 100,000 pregnancies in African-American women ended in death in Georgia that same year. Clearly, Molly was Caucasian, but if her suffering can cause a person to stop and consider the frightening place our country and state are in for women in ethnic minorities and lower socioeconomic groups, then I will shout her story from every rooftop!
The obvious barriers that were outlined in the Forbes article were race and location. In some states, like Mississippi, women have to drive up to 90 miles for healthcare (if they have coverage and funds to do so)! What??? We can teleconference with people in Tokyo, but we can’t get a doctor in rural Mississippi??????? That is 50 shades of wrong. As for race. I am sorry, this is 2015, not 1965. Great men like John Lewis, Martin Luther King, Hosea Williams, James Bevel, and Andy Young didn’t risk or sacrifice their lives so that 50 years later, African-American women would be twice as likely to die in childbirth!!!!
The less obvious barriers outlined in the article named a lack of universal protocols and a lack of discussion as significant. If you look at the chart i made, I deliberately chose cancer and AIDS. Both diseases have the potential to be fatal, However, with research and practice, protocols have been set forth for treatment and reporting. Hello? Mr. Surgeon General? Can we agree that now is the time to develop some protocols? Clearly, the barrier that hit me to the core was, “lack of discussion.” There is a stigma and there is shame in discussing women’s reproductive issues. The article cited that the men who were grieving their partners weren’t able to speak out. I think it’s fair to say that many women don’t have partners or families to speak out for them. MollyROCK is going to be the voice that speaks out for them. We will stand up and say that we are appalled that our nation isn’t screeching to a halt that we are losing more and more mothers and babies every day.
So, find out what the rate is in your state. Find out what your state is doing to lower the rate. Find out why we are not getting medical professionals in rural areas. Find out what in the world Saudi Arabia and Israel are doing that we aren’t. I know that I am knocking on the doors of anyone I can to find out why we can’t get this number to decline.
Keep MollyROCK in all of your statistics, conversations, ponderings, and outcries.
More than meat loves salt,