Deadly Deliveries Documentary on Maternal Death

A short film directed by Dufour and Gruber (2018) to support USA Today’s investigation into recent maternal death cases sheds light on the insufficiency of safety practices implemented in parturient women. It is intuitively clear that increasing costs of services should be followed by improved customer safety protection strategies. However, based on the maternal death statistics and data on healthcare costs, incompatibility between the two in the U.S. is far greater than in other high-GDP countries (Dufour & Gruber, 2018). Unlike other countries with high quality of life, the U.S. has been displaying a steady increase in maternal mortality rates since 1990 (Dufour & Gruber, 2018). The issue related to parturient and postpartum women’s safety is not new. It points to the absence of effective solutions to make healthcare teams react to this patient group’s complaints immediately.

One devastating conclusion that the video leads to is that even having medical or nursing degrees does not guarantee adequate and immediate medical attention in the delivery and emergency rooms. For instance, in Ali Lowry’s case, the woman noticed and reported her abnormal symptoms, such as general weakness and loss of coordination (Dufour & Gruber, 2018). However, the team did not diagnose her post-C-section internal hemorrhage immediately (Dufour & Gruber, 2018). Ali was a labor and delivery nurse, so she could easily spot the signs of complications, but interventions started only when her condition exacerbated.

Finally, aside from other factors dealing with equipment’s availability and the quality of practitioners’ clinical judgment, the maternal death issue might also be related to certain mistrust in client-provider collaboration. Unfortunately, there are patients that display excessive and unrealistic health-related fears and exaggerate or even invent their symptoms. Past experiences with clients with health anxiety and the cases in which seemingly dangerous symptoms did not lead to life-threatening conditions might interfere with healthcare providers’ reasoning. With that in mind, the strategy to resolve the maternal death crisis should emphasize different components, including resource availability, staff training, risk assessment guidelines, and, finally, teaching doctors to trust their patients.


Dufour, L., & Gruber, J. (2018). Deadly deliveries: Women share their near-death pregnancy experiences [Video]. USA Today.

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