When my patient died giving birth, the reality of US maternal mortality and race hit me

The Guardian - Dec 07, 11:21 GMT

Pregnancy-related deaths among black women are triple those of our white counterparts I don’t allow myself to remember much about my patient who died. I don’t remember her name

Pregnancy-related deaths among black women are triple those of our white counterparts

I don’t allow myself to remember much about my patient who died. I don’t remember her name. I don’t remember the date. I don’t even remember how old I was at the time. But as a result of this memory, I am forever changed.

In almost a decade of maternity nursing, I’d never had an adult patient die, and I haven’t had a patient die since. Over the past 13 years, I have delivered numerous babies who died in utero or were born alive, but were expected to die shortly after birth because of their low gestational age or conditions that were incompatible with life. I am familiar and comfortable with providing support to a family who were preparing to lose, or had just lost, a much-wanted baby. This day was different. I received a report from the nurse going off duty on a living, breathing, labouring young woman, only to leave the hospital with nothing to give to the next nurse coming on shift.

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