Health News

Texas Corrects Alarming Maternal Death Rates For 2012

Photo from Pixabay

Texas made headlines in 2016 when reports surfaced that the maternal mortality rate more than doubled in two years. But a new study, published in the same journal, stems the alarm with data stating that cut the number of deaths by around 60%.

Researchers with the Texas Department of State Health Services decided to evaluate the findings published in the journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology which said that there were 147 maternal deaths in 2012, a jump from 72 deaths in 2010. The numbers alarmed officials, instigating legislative efforts like a morbidity task force, CNN reports.

Upon further analysis, researchers found in medical and autopsy records that there were only 56 and not 147 maternal deaths in 2012. Human error while entering data in the electronic death registration system appeared to have been the reason behind the difference in numbers.

Doctors, justices and medical examiners filed 44% more death certificates electronically from 2010 to 2012, the researchers found. Those who did so most probably clicked on the incorrect dropdown menu option when entering pregnancy status, meaning there was more than twice the number of maternal deaths.

Sonia Baeva, a maternal mortality and morbidity epidemiologist with the Texas Department of State Health Services and lead author on the study, said,

Other academic research has shown issues with the quality of death data, nationally. Death data can be a rich source of information, but our work shows that identification of rare events, such as maternal deaths, should be supported with additional evidence.

Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, who authored State Bill 17 that sought to extend maternal mortality and morbidity task force, said, “It is clear that Texas does not have the worst maternal mortality in the developed world and that previous reports were grossly inaccurate. Instead of overreacting to sensationalized reports in the media, we directed better data collection in order to develop targeted, evidence-based strategies to more effectively improve the lives and health of mothers in Texas.”

Click to comment
To Top

Hi - We Would Love To Keep In Touch

If you liked this article then please consider joing our mailing list to receive the latest news, updates and opportunities from our team.

We don't want an impostor using your email address so please look for an email from us and click the link to confirm your email address.