Lies, damn lies, and statistics — yet another report falsely claims America has the worst newborn survival rate in the industrial world

It’s the kind of headline that makes liberals start running around screaming “Socialized medicine!!  We need socialized medicine!”  There it is, at the Daily Mail:  “U.S. is the most dangerous place in the industrialized world for newborns with more babies dying on their first day than in any other developed nation.“  Oh, my God!  Oh, my Gaia!

The U.S. is one of the most dangerous countries in the industrialized world for newborns due to high rates of premature births and babies born to teen mothers, according to a new study.

For every 1,000 babies born in the U.S., three die on the day of their birth – which is the highest first-day death rate in the industrialized world, a report by the global aid group ‘Save the Children’ says. The U.S. rate is worse than even some developing countries, including Cuba, Egypt and Mexico.

This particular report, which comes from “Save the Children”, blames America for having too many premature babies and teen mothers, not to mention that ridiculous market-based (sort of) health care system.

However, the report forgets one important little detail, which is that it’s comparing apples to oranges.  That’s always going to skew the statistics.  Since this kind of stupidity erupts annually, there’s a plethora of articles explaining this statistical error.  None of these organizations — all of which measure a nation’s healthcare quality by level of government control, rather than outcome — care a jot about making sure that their metrics are correct before they start drawing conclusions.   This is because they’re interested in political outcomes, not actual quality of health care.  Here’s a Fox News article from 2011 once again correcting the apples versus oranges mistake behind this alleged statistic:

The U.S. ranks poorly on the infant mortality list largely because this country actually counts neonatal deaths, notably premature infant fatalities, unlike other countries who don’t count these infant deaths.

“In several countries, such as in the United States, Canada and the Nordic countries, very premature babies (with relatively low odds of survival) are registered as live births, which increases mortality rates compared with other countries that do not register them as live births,” the OECD says.

Other statistical quirks give the U.S. an unjustifiably poor showing in this ranking compared to other countries.

Start with the definition of the infant mortality rate.

The World Health Organization [WHO] defines a country’s infant mortality rate as the number of infants who die between birth and age one, per 1,000 live births.

WHO says a live birth is when a baby shows any sign of life, even if, say, a low birth weight baby takes one single breath, or has one heartbeat.

The U.S. uses this definition. But other countries do not — so they don’t count premature or severely ill babies as live births-or deaths.

The United States actually counts all births if they show any sign of life, regardless of prematurity, or size, or duration of life, notes Bernardine Healy, former director of the National Institutes of Health and former president and chief executive of the American Red Cross.

And that includes stillbirths, which many other countries do not count, much less report.

Also, what counts as a birth varies from country to country. In Austria and Germany, fetal weight must be at least 500 grams (1 pound) before these countries count these infants as live births, Healy notes.

In other parts of Europe, such as Switzerland, the fetus must be at least 30 centimeters (12 inches) long. In Belgium and France, births at less than 26 weeks of pregnancy are registered as lifeless, and are not counted, Healy says.

And some countries don’t reliably register babies who die within the first 24 hours of birth, Healy notes.

Norway, which has one of the lowest infant mortality rates, shows no better infant survival than the United States when you factor in Norway’s underweight infants who are not now counted, says Nicholas Eberstadt, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Other factors behind the differences in neonatal survival rates are our heterogeneous population (both genetically and culturally) and the number of older mothers who have high risk multiple birth pregnancies following fertility treatments.

For the best article I’ve ever read on the dishonesty behind every one of these “America kills newborns” studies, you must read Scott Atlas’s The Worst Study Ever. In it, Atlas looks at the rank dishonesty in the WHO Study that swept the Progressive and socialist world, assuring them that America, which has the best outcomes, actually provides the worst medical care.

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Comments

  1. says

    People should begin to start realizing that the reason why the Left’s statistics are so skewed is because they use data from their own abortion clinics as the basis for much of the stats.
     
    Perhaps that gives you a “clue” as to why “survival” is so “low”. Not only are the deaths documented more than at Socialist Europe… the sample is incredibly biased on the local level.
     
    The Left is not some happy sappy communal political party people. It, perhaps, never was. Don’t treat it as if it is.

  2. lee says

    That Scott Atlas article is great. I HATED the WHO report–I muddled my way through it–the cards were so stacked in favor of socialized medicine. It ranked all sorts of things that were really unrelated to health care, like how much the GOVERNMENT pays in terms of healthcare per capita.
     
    I recall the US doing badly in one ridiculous ranking: Doctors per 100,000 people. France was high, the US was so-so. But if you looked at health care professionals: doctors, physicians assistants, nurses, nurse practicioners, medical technicians (such as perfusionists, dosimetrists, et al.), we VASTLY outstripped any other country. I recall one ranking on how FAR someone has to travel to see a doctor–but nothing on HOW LONG it takes to actually get in to see one from the time you make an appointment… And one of the few rankings in which we did STELLAR was the five-year cancer survival rate.
     
    Well, thanks to Obamacare, we will be moving UP in the WHO rankings!

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