A mother’s worst nightmare occurred when Patricia Pouncey’s daughter, Nikita Washington, passed away after giving birth to her newborn son.
Last December, Washington went to Harper University Hospital to give birth to her 12th child, her son Nathaniel, according to CNN.
Since her husband was, and still is, incarcerated and her mother stayed home to watch the other children, she went to the hospital alone. She kept her family updated throughout the delivery process until she couldn’t. She informed them that the medical staff noticed the 35-year-old’s blood pressure was high and determined it was best to perform a cesarean section on Dec. 22.
After her family didn’t get an update from the Detroit native for several hours, her sister went to the hospital to visit, and that’s when things took a turn for the worse. On Dec. 23, Washington’s family learned that despite Nathaniel being born healthy, Washington passed away due to a loose stitch that led to excessive bleeding. When Pouncey received the news, she was devastated and wished she was by her daughter’s side during delivery. She shared the only information Harper University Hospital gave her was her daughter’s death certificate.
“I just have a lot of questions right now,” the grandmother told CNN. “I ask myself all the time, ‘What went wrong?'”
The hospital released a statement sending her family condolences and noting staff can’t release any information surrounding the unfortunate death due to medical laws.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family for the loss of their loved one. We cannot discuss specifics regarding the treatment of any individual due to patient privacy laws,” the statement read, according to CNN.
Over the last several years, more conversations have been had about the lack of appropriate care for Black women while they give birth in a hospitals. In addition, there are concerns that the needs of Black women or the offered care are different than that offered to other women.
March of Dimes published an article that examines “birthing while Black.” Research states that “Black mothers of all ages are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than their White peers.”
Pouncey is now responsible for her 12 grandchildren since her daughter’s passing. She’s turning her daughter’s story into purpose as she encourages every pregnant woman and their tribe to make sure an advocate is in the delivery room.
“I’m worried about every mother. Don’t ever, ever make the mistake that I made, letting your child go (to the hospital) alone. We need to give more attention to what’s going on,” Pouncey said.