The Case for a National Maternal Mortality Review Committee

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Abstract

The United States has the highest maternal mortality ratio of any high-resource country; the 2014 ratio of 22 per 100,000 live births is in fact four to five times higher than that of the best-performing nations, and recent data suggest that this ratio may be increasing. The causes of this disparity are unknown and may be related to social, economic, cultural, or medical issues or a combination of factors. Repeated counts of categories of maternal death are of little assistance in determining the actual cause of death or in identifying preventive measures. Furthermore, when based on administrative data, such tallies may themselves be inaccurate. We propose the creation of a national maternal mortality review committee, modeled after those in other high-resource nations, to assist in addressing the problem of maternal mortality in the United States.

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