New York Woman Dies During Childbirth Days After Complaining About Hospital's Treatment Of Minority Women
Amber Rose Isaac complained about "incompetent doctors" and a "lack of efficient care toward minority women” at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx.
A pregnant New York woman died a few days after she complained about the prenatal care she received at a local hospital.
On April 21, Amber Rose Isaac died shortly after she prematurely gave birth to her son Elias. The baby wasn't due for another month, reported The City. The 26-year-old began experiencing issues with her blood platelet level in February and had consistent doctor's appointments until the pandemic struck. The in-person sessions became telephone calls even though Isaac “knew she needed to be seen,” according to her partner Bruce McIntyre. The expectant mother was worried she would not survive childbirth.
“She had mentioned to me that she feels like she’s not gonna make it,” McIntyre recalled to The City. “And I would try my best to cheer her up. She would tell her mom she’s really glad the baby is healthy, but she’s scared that she’s not gonna make it.”
Isaac urged doctors to look into her condition, but her pleas were not taken seriously. She expressed her dissatisfaction with the health care she received at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx four days before her death.
“Can’t wait to write a tell all about my experience during my last two trimesters dealing incompetent doctors & lack of efficient care toward minority women,” she wrote on Facebook. Isaac posted a similar message on Twitter.
On April 20, the day Isaac’s labor was induced, she was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome, which stands for hemolysis (the breakdown of red blood cells), elevated liver enzymes and low platelet count, according to Medline Plus. The condition is considered a variant of preeclampsia and affects 1-2 out of 1,000 pregnancies.
Baby Elias was born via cesarean section on April 20, and his mother died shortly after midnight the following morning. Isaac died alone because her loved ones were not allowed in the room during the procedure due to coronavirus concerns and the use of general anesthesia during surgery. McIntyre had to piece together updates from an area outside of the operating room.
“As soon as they took the baby out, her heart stopped,” he said. “And she bled out. Her platelet levels were so low that her blood was like water, so nothing was clotting.”
McIntyre believes Isaac’s race affected how she was treated. She was of African American and Puerto Rican descent.
“All of this was 100% preventable. All of it,” McIntyre told The Guardian. “I feel like she would have got more attentive care if she was a white mother, to be completely honest with you.”
Just know we riding for you baby, trust🤞🏽.. pic.twitter.com/RfRZiiQhS5— biz (@BadNewzBizzy) April 25, 2020
There is plenty of data to back up his assessment.
Black women are 2.5 times more likely to die in childbirth, according to data released by the National Center for Health Statistics in January, NBC News reported. There are 37.1 deaths per 100,000 live births among Black mothers. The rates for white and Hispanic women are 14 and 11.8 deaths, respectively.
In New York, where Isaac lived, Black women are eight times more likely to die from childbirth complications.
These alarming rates can be attributed to health disparities propelled by institutional racism. Sixty percent of maternal deaths are preventable, The Guardian reported.
“Implicit bias, racism, being very dismissive of people that look like Amber, making assumptions,” Angela D Aina, interim executive director of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, told The Guardian. “This is the result.”
“It’s a time when we really feel joyful about giving birth but under these conditions women are stressed and they have a lot of anxiety about even going into the hospital,” said North Carolina Rep. Alma Adams, who co-founded the Black Maternal Health Caucus. “It’s a pandemic on top of a pandemic.”