Few weeks ago we reported about the seventh-grade social studies teacher accused of racism in school, after it was discovered that he made some of his Black students wearing handcuffs during lessons about slavery. The veteran educator was additionally accused of giving Black students to pick a piece of cotton and asking them to pick cotton seeds out of the cotton.
While majority of Americans are trying to battle racism in every shape and form, that particular incident was just one among many racism-related incidents that happen on a daily basis countrywide. Earlier this month, a Black man decided to speak publicly informing the local community that he had filed a lawsuit against a hospital where his wife bled to death years ago, just hours after giving birth. Per the lawsuit, the man claims his wife was not properly treated by the doctors because she was Black.
Charles Johnson, the husband of the woman who died after childbirth on April 12, 2016, says that his wife bled to death because she was a victim of a ‘culture of racism’ at the renowned Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in California. Per Johnson’s claims, he found out that women of color don’t receive the same treatment at that hospital compared to white women calling his wife’s death ‘wrongful death’.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that my wife would be here today and be here Sunday celebrating Mother’s Day with her boys if she was a Caucasian woman,” Johnson said at a news conference outside the hospital, as reported by the Today. “The reality is that on April 12, 2016, when we walked into Cedars-Sinai hospital for what we expected to be the happiest day of our lives, the greatest risk factor that Kira Dixon Johnson faced was racism.”
Per the lawsuit, Dixon had a scheduled C-section and the couple’s second son was delivered in only 17 minutes. The lawsuit further claims the time doctors spent in performing the C-section was too short and the patient was still bleeding after they delivered the baby. With obvious signs of internal bleeding, the husband spent the next few hours pleading the doctors to readmit Dixon to the operating room. But roughly 12 hours after delivering the baby, it was too late as Dixon bled to death.
“This is sloppy. It was butchery,” attorney Nicholas Rowley said. “It shocked everybody that we deposed, all the health care providers, even the head of (obstetrics) here, the head of labor and delivery, looked at it and said ‘No, I’ve never seen one done that fast.”’
While Dixon was still alive and he was waiting someone to take care of his wife, the widower in addition claims that one of the nurses allegedly informed him that his wife was not a priority at the time. The attorney added that 90% of Dixon’s blood was later found in her stomach as her bladder had been lacerated and she hadn’t been sutured properly.
Speaking to NBCLA, a former surgical tech who was in the operating room with Dixon, claims that at one point ‘the operating room started to look like a murder scene, a crime scene, as it was blood everywhere.’ She says that she knew ‘it didn’t feel good’ and added that ‘you do have racism, very much so, in the operating room.’
The hospital issued a statement for the public regarding the case: “We reject any mischaracterization of our culture and values. While disparities exist throughout our society, we are actively working to eradicate unconscious bias in healthcare and advance equity in healthcare more broadly. We commend Mr. Johnson for the attention he has brought to the important issue of racial disparities in maternal outcomes.”
According to the CDC, in 2019 the maternal mortality rate for Black women was 44.0 deaths per 100,000 live births, 2.5 times the rate for white women (17.9) and 3.5 times the rate for Hispanic women (12.6). Since his wife’s death, Charles became an advocate for reducing maternal mortality, which is especially high for Black women.