doctor examining baby

Infant mortality rates in the U.S. have dropped to a new low after about a decade-long decline, according to federal officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In fact, since 2005 (when there was a peak in the U.S. infant mortality rate), there has been a more than 15 percent drop, with the rate dropping to the new low of 582.1 infant deaths (per every 100,000 live births) in 2014.

Potential Reasons for the Decline in the Infant Mortality Rate

As officials continue examining these findings, one fact seems to be clear: a major contributor to the decline in the infant mortality rate has been the decline in preterm births. This is because premature babies tend to face more life-threatening risks due to their underdeveloped organs.

Additionally, researchers have noted that the drop in the infant mortality rate and the preterm birth rate in the U.S. may be linked to:

  • A drop in the rates of respiratory distress among premature infants.
  • The changing practice of only ordering C-sections prior to 39 weeks (of pregnancy) when there is viable medical evidence pointing to this need. In the past, there has been less caution about ordering C-sections and inducing early labor, and the conscious change in this practice may be leading to less preterm births overall.

Other potential risks to infants during the labor and delivery process can involve forms of medical negligence, including (but not limited to):

  • Improper use of vacuum extraction and/or forceps during deliver
  • Failure to order a C-section when there are clear signs of maternal and/or infant distress
  • Failure to identify and immediately respond to nuchal cord (when the umbilical cord wraps around babies’ necks and cuts off their oxygen supply).

U.S. Infant Mortality Rate Still High, Some Caution

While these findings regarding a declining infant death rate are very promising, some medical professionals caution that it’s really too early to celebrate them because the U.S. still has an incredibly high infant death rate, when compared to the rates associated with other similarly developed countries .

In fact, according to CDC data, the U.S. infant fatality rate (for 2013) was about 50 percent greater than that for similarly developed countries.

This seems to underscore the fact that more work needs to be done to identify and appropriately address the primary causes infant mortality in the U.S.

Contact a Portland Medical Malpractice Lawyer at the Savage Law Firm

If you, your child or someone else you love has been harmed by any form of medical negligence, you can rely on a Portland medical malpractice lawyer at the Savage Law Firm for experienced help and aggressive legal advocacy. For nearly four decades, our lawyers have been devoted to providing each of our clients with the highest quality legal services to help them secure the compensation and justice they deserve.

To learn more about our legal services and what we can do for you, call us at 503-222-0200 (in Portland) or at 206-957-7272 (in Seattle). You can also email us using the form on this page. We represent clients in communities in both Oregon and Washington from our offices in Portland and Seattle.