R dot plots for Maternal mortality for WHO nation data 2008

Queens hospital in Romford and King Georges in Goodmayes were recently criticised by the health watchdog for extremely poor standards of care, and this quote from the guardian article suggests a level of nasty, that is beyond simple incompetence:

"The CQC report highlighted verbally abusive staff in the maternity unit. One of the midwives was heard to say to a woman in labour: "Hurry up, or I'll cut you." - http://is.gd/dxVosz
Surely this person should be arrested, or did i miss something?

The BBC and Guardian both covered the report from the care commission, and its makes for pretty grim reading given that they are my 2 nearest general hospitals.

The article in the Daily-Mail mentions a statistic that they may well have pulled out of their collective arse (who knows they seem to just lie about everything), that the maternal death rate at Queens hospital is 3 times the national average.

So I thought it would be worth to see graphically how that would look on the global charts if that was representative of the UK as a whole. The WHO data provides an age-standardized rate of 12/100,000 births, hence the chart is plotted with 2 lines at 12 and 36.

This is the maternal mortality dataset currently available on the WHO datasets websites. The 2 lines are first the United Kingdom, and where the United Kingdom would be if Queens hospital in Romford and King Georges in Goodmayes were representative of the UK as a whole.

The log transformed WHO rates indicate the data is high reminiscent of an exponential distribution, and it would probably be pretty easy to pull a rate parameter out of the fit for estimating the mean of the underlying distribution. (though I have no idea if that is of any use) I suspect the straight line is due to Benford's law but I can't quite get my head around why.


Greece has an absurdly low maternal mortality rate in 2009 (2/100000), so a @todo is to see whether that is consistent with and other health end-points, and whether it is consistent over time. Also Ireland 3 is a notable 2nd.

@todo explain the straight line effect in the ordered plot of rates.

Notes & References

Who data on maternal mortality.

"Watchdog publishes damning report into deaths at two London hospitals, Queen's in Romford and King George's in Goodmayes"
"Romford Queen's Hospital: Margaret Hodge calls for inquiry"
Tony Blair launches health inspectorate
The BBC and Guardian both covered the report from the care commmission, and its makes for pretty grim reading;

On the positive side they are absolutely kicking their arses over it, both Romford and King Georges are coming under a lot of scrutiny, rightfully so...