The tragic death of Judge Glenda Hatchett’s daughter-in-law is yet another reason why people shouldn’t think of pregnancy as a condition without risks.
Hatchett’s daughter-in-law, Kyira Dixon Johnson was 39 years old and pregnant with her second child. She had a repeat cesarean section that had been scheduled in advance at the prestigious Cedar Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles, California. The cesarean procedure went smoothly and took approximately 30 minutes. Johnson gave birth to a baby boy and was taken to the recovery room in stable condition. Three hours later, an astute nurse noticed that Johnson had blood in her Foley catheter (a tube that drains the urinary bladder) and allegedly informed the physician. A CT scan was ordered but not done.
Hours later, Johnson was taken back to the operating room where three liters of blood was found when they surgically opened her abdomen. Although they made a valiant effort to save her life, she died. Johnson’s husband and mother-in-law have sued the physicians and hospital. The autopsy report stated excessive blood loss was the cause of death.
Stories such as Johnson’s make me angry. Women who enter a hospital to give birth shouldn’t end up dead. Johnson did not have her baby in a remote village whose name is difficult to pronounce. She died in one of the most prestigious hospitals in the U.S. and the question is why?
When the nurse reported blood in her urine, there should have been immediate lab work drawn to determine if her blood count was dropping. When the CT scan was ordered but not done within 30 to 60 minutes, an alert should have been sent to the radiology department, her physician and nursing staff. Her blood pressure should have been checked frequently to see if it was low. And until proven otherwise, the diagnosis of post-partum hemorrhage should have been high on the list of possibilities as a reason for having blood in her urine.
Kyira Dixon Johnson shouldn’t have died last April and neither should the other 700 women who die each year as well. These deaths are totally unnecessary – and they really need to stop.
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