New Arizona law hopes to lower number of deaths following pregnancy

PHOENIX (FOX 10) -- The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate of any developed nation, and the number of moms dying after childbirth continues to increase.

According to a recently-released study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 700 women die annually in the country from pregnancy-related issues. Of those, the study found 60% could have been avoided.

One Arizona family knows this heartache first-hand, and their story is the inspiration for a bill that was recently signed by Governor Doug Ducey.

Vicente Garcia's family is hoping their story will help others from going through this same tragedy.

"Our family was experience of what's supposed to be the most joyous occasions in life," said Garcia. He was excited to be a grandfather for the third time.

"We were finally going to get a grandson," said Garcia.

That joy, however, was short lived.

"I think we set up a time for the next day because she wasn't feeling good, and that was the last time I heard from my daughter," said Garcia.

His daughter, Arianna, was 23 years old at the time she died. She died the same day she was discharged from the hospital with her healthy baby boy.

"She had no preexisting conditions. She had great medical insurance. There was nothing to raise any kind of concern," said Garcia.

Arianna had internal bleeding that went unnoticed.

"It's trending in the absolutely wrong direction," said State Sen. Kate Brophy-McGee (R).

State Senator Kate Brophy-McGee heard about Garcia's story, and helped sponsor SB1040, which will establish an advisory committee to recommend improvements in health care in order to hopefully prevent these types of deaths.

"If we had been asking the question and doing better follow up care, it wouldn't happen," said State Sen. Brophy-McGee.

Garcia says he's hopeful by sharing his family's story, another family won't have to experience the pain they did.

"Just want to do my part so no one else has to experience something like that," said Garcia. "I know it's not going to happen overnight, but we're here for the long haul. We're going to do whatever we can."

State Sen. Brophy-McGee said California implemented a similar program, and has seen a decrease in maternal mortality rates.