In April 2016, Charles Johnson and his wife Kira went to the Cedars Sinai hospital in Los Angeles for the birth to their son Langston. They expected it to be one of the happiest days of their lives, but soon Charles found they had “walked into a nightmare.”

Within an hour of delivery, Charles noticed blood flowing from Kira’s catheter. He called for help, but it took over eight hours before a doctor said he could take her back in for surgery to look at her C-section. That was the last time he saw his wife Kira alive. When they opened her up, she died with 3.5 liters of blood in her abdomen.

Deaths in childbirth in the U.S. are higher than any other developed nation, and the trend has been rising. While there are inevitably some complications in childbirth, a study of infant mortality across countries shows that there is a strong inverse relationship between number of physicians and death. Numerous studies suggest that one in three maternal deaths is entirely preventable.

Los Angeles is not a third world city, and Cedars Sinai is a fine hospital. Charles and Kira were giving birth in a major urban area with a high number of doctors and hospitals per capita. Dig deeper, however, and there is a different story. ….