(WOIO) - With Ohio ranking worst in the nation for African American infant mortality and 48th in the nation for overall births, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown will visit Metro Health today to announce landmark legislation to help doctors and researchers better understand the causes of stillbirths, Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths, and Sudden Unexpected Deaths in Childhood.
Brown will be joined by a Parma Heights mother who lost her child in 2003. Although multiple autopsies have been performed, the cause of death remains unknown. Dr. Brian Mercer, MD will also attend the event to outline efforts to address this issue in northeast Ohio.
Ohio has the highest infant mortality rate for African American babies in the continental United States and ranks third from the bottom for all births. Each year, there are more than 25,000 stillbirths in the United States. Many of these deaths are the result of birth defects, umbilical cord problems, chronic conditions of the mother, or infections.
There is no known cause for as many as half of all stillbirths, leaving thousands of parents without any explanation for these deaths. In addition, there are more than 4,600 sudden unexpected infant deaths each year and another 200 children between the ages of one and four who die without any clear cause of death. Many of these tragedies could be prevented with more data and research on cause of death.