Greater Efforts to Save Premature Babies Inflates U.S. Infant-Mortality

(p. A13) The federally chartered Institute of Medicine issued a comprehensive report last month on the state of American health. Saying that “Other high-income countries outrank the United States on most measures of health,” the report concluded that the U.S. “is among the wealthiest nations in the world, but it is far from the healthiest.”
. . .
As the report’s authors point out, the U.S. has the highest infant-mortality rate among high-income countries.
. . .
Doctors in the U.S. are much more aggressive than foreign counterparts about trying to save premature babies. Thousands of babies that would have been declared stillborn in other countries and never given a chance at life are saved in the U.S. As a result, the percentage of preterm births in America is exceptionally high–65% higher than in Britain, and about double the rates in Finland and Greece.
Unfortunately, some of the premature babies that American hospitals try to save don’t make it. Their deaths inflate the overall infant mortality rate.

For the full commentary, see:
SALLY C. PIPES. “OPINION; Those Misleading World Health Rankings; The numbers are distorted because, for instance, U.S. doctors try so hard to save premature babies.” The Wall Street Journal (Tues., February 5, 2013): A13.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date February 4, 2013.)

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