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High levels of substandard care in maternal deaths

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 15 June 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:1499

Substandard care was present in 80% of maternal deaths from hypertensive disorders in the UK, says the latest report on maternal deaths from the Department of Health. Hypertensive disorders remained the second cause of death, but numbers have fallen by a third during the three years (1991-3) covered by the report.

Of the 228 direct and indirect deaths assessed for the report, some degree of substandard care was considered to be applicable in 40% of cases. Recurrent common features include diagnostic errors, inappropriate treatment, and failure to refer patients to senior staff or other disciplines.

Specifically, the …

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