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Research Shows Alarming Disparity Gap In Infant Mortality Rates

A woman and her baby

New Research May Provide Answers to Lessening Mortality Rate in Black Babies

An associate professor and reproductive health equity researcher from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health has released her medical research that examined decades of hospital birth records between 1992 and 2015, looking for clues as to why Black babies have such high mortality rates.

Rachel Hardeman discovered that Black newborns are three times as likely to die as White newborns when Black babies weren’t cared for by Black doctors after birth. The doctors were primarily pediatricians, neonatologists, and family practitioners. When cared for by Black doctors, a Black baby’s mortality rate was cut in half. According to the research article published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States (PNAS) on September 1, 2020:

“Findings suggest that when Black newborns are cared for by Black physicians, the mortality penalty they suffer, as compared with White infants, is halved. Strikingly, these effects appear to manifest more strongly in more complicated cases and when hospitals deliver more Black newborns. No such concordance effect is found among birthing mothers.”

The researchers also noted that these conclusions were associated with Black infant mortality rates, and not a cause and effect.

Black Baby Deaths Is Nearly Three Times More as White Babies in Illinois

In 2019, NPR reported that in Illinois, losing a baby before its first birthday happens far more often to Black mothers than those of other races. Illinois is one of the top states where Black baby mortality is the highest. Even more alarming, as many as 34% of Black infants over a two-year average will not make it to age 1. NPR pointed to studies similar to Hardeman’s, showing that racism is a driving factor in the disparate infant mortality rates in Illinois, no matter the mother’s economic status. The data showed substantial differences in the infant mortality rates for Illinois babies of different racial and ethnic groups.

Legal Help in Understanding Black Infant Wrongful Death

Infant wrongful death lawsuits are generally filed by family members or beneficiaries of the child who died. In some instances, these claims are filed to obtain monetary damages and other recoveries. Suppose your family has recently lost a Black baby due to someone else’s negligence. In that case, it is best to contact a wrongful death attorney to discuss the legal options available to them in Illinois. Since there is no set way to determine how long your particular case will take, it’s best to act quickly and understand that it may take quite some time before it is resolved.

Justice for Black Mothers and Black Babies in Illinois

If you suspect medical negligence or believe a racial disparity or racism may have contributed to an injury or death of your unborn baby or infant, please contact Levin & Perconti toll-free at 877-374-1417, or in Chicago at (312) 332-2872 for a FREE consultation.

Source: Physician-patient racial concordance and disparities in birthing mortality for newborns. Brad N. Greenwood, Rachel R. Hardeman, Laura Huang, Aaron Sojourner. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Sep 2020, 117 (35) 21194-21200; DOI:10.1073/pnas.1913405117

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