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Study: Rural Canadians at higher risk of birthing injury

  • November 30, 2016
  • by Will Davidson LLP
  • birthing injury, birthing injury lawyer, medical malpractice, medical malpractice lawyer, Ontario birthing injury lawyer, Ontario medical malpractice lawyer, Ontario personal injury lawyer, personal injury, Personal Injury Lawyer, Toronto birthing injury lawyer, Toronto medical malpractice lawyer, Toronto personal injury lawyer, Will Davidson LLP,

In September, the Canadian Medical Association Journal published a report on the significant gap in birthing injuries between mothers in rural Canada and their urban counterparts. “Compared with women in urban areas,” the study found, “those in rural areas had higher rates of severe maternal morbidity and severe neonatal morbidity.” Children born in rural settings were also more likely to be born underweight and pre-term.

birthing injury lawyer

If the negligence of a physician or medical facility caused you to experience an injury during childbirth, you may want to contact a birthing injury lawyer at Will Davidson LLP. Birthing injuries can cause lasting harm to both mother and child. Eclampsia, for example, is a complication which can cause seizures during childbirth, and was found by the newly released study to be more common in rural women than urban women, along with obstetric embolism and uterine rupture.

Dr. Sarka Lisonkova is a professor in the department of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of British Columbia (UBC), and one of the study’s lead authors. While she was not expecting to find “big differences” between the care provided to rural and urban mothers, she told the Globe and Mail that she was “surprised” to discover “some differences in some conditions that can be potentially life-threatening.”

The UBC study measured data from more than 250,000 women – every mother who gave birth in British Columbia from 2005 to 2010. Approximately 1 in every 10 of those women lived in a rural area. Despite the mountain of evidence processed by Dr. Lisonkova and her team, the study does not offer a conclusive explanation for the rural-urban maternal health gap. Some theories incorporate broad rural health trends, such as elevated levels of substance abuse, obesity, and teen pregnancy, while others point the finger at limited access to prenatal care, including ultrasounds.

It is important to recognize that most of the defects, complications, and conditions discussed in Dr. Lisonkova’s study are rare in both urban and rural districts in British Columbia, and that an experienced birthing injury lawyer can help injured mothers access compensation for the difficulties they have faced. However, the UBC study makes it clear that rural mothers are at a disadvantage, and should be aware of that fact.

“The risks are higher [for rural women],” Dr. Lisonkova told the Globe and Mail. “It’s important to know, because if these women are potentially facing geographic or other barriers they need to be more carefully monitored.”

Since the mid-2000s, the number of birthing units which rural Canadians have access to has shrunk substantially. A Globe and Mail survey of provincial health ministries revealed that about 20 per cent of women in Canada must travel upwards of two hours in order to give birth at a medical facility.

When a mother experiences an injury during childbirth, she should immediately contact a qualified birthing injury lawyer to discuss her legal options. However, in order to prevent injuries from occurring in the first place, all levels of government must work to provide wider access to birthing units and healthcare facilities for Canadian women. The majority of Canada’s population may reside in cities, but the health and well-being of rural citizens should not be neglected.

If you or a member of your family has suffered an injury during childbirth, contact a birthing injury lawyer at Will Davidson LLP today. Our team can help you understand your options and guide you as you take your first steps towards recovery.

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