A pregnant New York woman passed away during an emergency Caesarean section at the Montefiore Medical Center weeks after telling her partner she feared for her life due to possible negligence from medical officers.
According to The City, Amber Isaac, 26, developed a health condition which caused her platelet levels to gradually fall from the month of February while she was pregnant. Despite her condition, her partner, Bruce McIntyre, told the news platform she was still not allowed to visit the hospital as officials opted for video consultation sessions throughout the month of March because of the coronavirus pandemic.
“She had mentioned to me that she feels like she’s not gonna make it,” McIntyre said. “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.”
After several calls and emails requesting a doctor’s appointment at the hospital because of concerns about her condition, she was finally allowed to come over for a visit in April. That was her first in-person visit to the hospital since the ending of February.
Subsequent tests she underwent on April 17 revealed her platelet count had further dropped and she was admitted. On that same day, Isaac shared a Tweet calling out the hospital for alleged negligence.
“Can’t wait to write a tell all about my experience during my last two trimesters dealing with incompetent doctors at Montefiore,” she Tweeted.
She died a few days later during an emergency Caesarean section on April 21 after she was diagnosed with HELLP syndrome, a potentially fatal “disorder of the liver and blood” that “occurs in 5–8 percent of pregnancies.”
Their premature son survived but Isaac did not, The City reports. McIntyre wasn’t allowed to see her during the surgery as she was under general anesthesia.
“As soon as they took the baby out, her heart stopped,” McIntyre said. “And she bled out. Her platelet levels were so low that her blood was like water, so nothing was clotting.”
The news outlet reached out to the medical center for comment but did not receive any response.
The rate of maternal mortality in the United States has always been a matter of concern. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 700 women die from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth every year, putting the U.S. in the last place among all developed nations in terms of maternal mortality.
This gets worse for black women as pregnancy-related deaths for them is 3 to 4 times higher than white women. In New York City, black women are 8 times more likely to succumb to pregnancy related deaths as compared to white women.
“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.”
The current outbreak of COVID-19 and hospitals reaching or nearing full capacity with limited resources also further aggravates expectant mothers receiving adequate healthcare during these times.
Isaac’s family have set up a GoFundMe to raise funds for her funeral and the baby’s future.