Screenshot from YOUTUBE

A Black Father Pushes Congress to Save the Lives of Black Mothers

Charles Johnson IV posted on Instagram Thursday morning that the final deadline in getting Congress to pass the
Preventing Maternal Deaths Act is next week.

Johnson, a Los Angeles resident, has been fighting for Black mothers like his wife, Kira. She died in 2016 in a hospital that left her bleeding internally for 10 hours without a CT scan after giving birth to their second child. Medical professionals had told Johnson, who was pleading for help for his wife, that she “wasn’t a priority” for them.

Johnson and his mother, TV judge Glenda Hatchett, are advocating for Black women, as they are three to four times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as their white counterparts,
according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Johnson and his two sons are also plaintiffs in a lawsuit against the hospital and several doctors alleging wrongful death and negligent infliction of emotional distress.

Kira Johnson died of “hemorrhagic shock due to acute hemoperitoneum,” which the lawsuit said doctors failed to properly diagnose and treat.

Black women including, Serena Williams, have put the alarming statistics into perspective. Williams demanded a CT scan after giving birth to her daughter, Olympia, when she felt short of breath. A nurse had told her she was confused because of her pain medication, but Williams was persistent and it ended up saving her life.

Johnson formed 4Kira4Moms, a nonprofit dedicated to honor Kira’s life and to prevent other families from experiencing unnecessary birth-related deaths.

Johnson and Hatchett, recently participated in a congressional briefing on maternal mortality hosted by the Reproductive Justice Initiative.

“They did nothing to correct it in a timely manner,” Hatchett
said.

“This is a woman who would be alive today had it not been for, what we say in the complaint, medical negligence. One minute we’re at the hospital celebrating [the couple’s] second son’s birth, just a very joyous time and then hours later, she’s gone”

His
testimony to Congress in September was followed by Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-MA) who read of the jarring statistics that Black women are 243% more likely to die from pregnancy or childbirth-related complications than white women.

The hospital’s
statement released TWO YEARS AFTER Kira’s death:

“Kira Johnson’s death was a tragedy. Her husband, Charles S. Johnson IV, and his mother, Judge Glenda Hatchett, are demonstrating important leadership in raising awareness of preventable maternal deaths. Cedars-Sinai strongly agrees with Judge Hatchett and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that no mother should die giving birth.”

“Based on our findings, we make any changes that are needed so that we can continue to provide the highest quality care to our patients. This includes reviewing hospital procedures as well as the competency of healthcare providers. Among other changes, we have updated processes for post-anesthesia care and have increased simulation training for physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals related to care of hospitalized obstetric patients.”


Charles Johnson shares the tragic story of his wife Kira’s death hours after giving birth.

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Reader Question: Do you know any women who have experienced discrimination in medical care post child birth

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