Judge Glenda Hatchett speaks out about the tragic death of her daughter-in-law during childbirth
By Michaé Baisden
The tragic story of Kira Johnson amplifies the fatal conditions many Black mothers in America find themselves in.
On April 12, 2016, Kira tragically lost her life after a routine c-section at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles. After she delivered her baby boy, doctors failed to perform a CT scan. When they finally did, seven hours later, it was too late.
Kira left behind her two sons and her husband Charles, son of Judge Glenda Hatchett.
Charles literally watched his wife die as doctors at the hospital failed to take action immediately, as was needed. Charles recalls the horrific experience with 11alive:
He told the media that he noticed blood in his wife’s catheter.
“That was supposed to be performed STAT…In my mind, I’m thinking, ‘That means immediately.’”
“She’s beginning to tremble uncontrollably. She’s beginning to shake. She’s beginning to be in increasingly more pain. She’s becoming sensitive to the touch. There’s still no CT scan.”
Now Charles and his mother Judge Hatchett are speaking out to ensure this type of tragedy doesn’t happen to any other black mothers. Charles does not want his wife’s death to be in vain.
According to the CDC, from 2011-2013, it was recorded that Black women are three to four times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as their white counterparts.
People reports that on March 22, 2018, Charles took legal action and filed a medical malpractice suit against Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The medical team failed to act in a timely manner.
Following, Cedars-Sinai Hospital released this statement:
Kira Johnson’s death was a tragedy. Her husband, Charles S. Johnson IV, is demonstrating important leadership in raising awareness of preventable maternal deaths. Cedars-Sinai strongly agrees with Mr. Johnson and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists that no mother should die giving birth.
While federal privacy laws prevent us from responding directly about any patient’s care without written authorization, we can share the following: One of the reasons for Cedars-Sinai’s high quality of care is that we thoroughly investigate any situation where there are concerns about a patient’s medical care. 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.
Like Charles, Judge Hatchett believes this death could have been prevented.
When Hatchett spoke to 11 Alive she said: “They researched, they were in Los Angeles, they knew that Cedar Sinai was a world-class hospital and after she died, they said ‘Oh, had we gotten her back to the operating room she would be perfectly fine. Oh if we had…’ Well, why the hell didn’t they?”
“It was not that she was sick, it’s not that she had a preexisting condition, that she had a heart problem or she had a blood clot, none of that was Kira’s case,” she continued.
Charles says he will continue to use his platform, and the notarity of his mother, to get this story heard.
“We walked in for what we expected to be the happiest day of our life. And we walked straight into a nightmare,” Charles recalled. “I sit awake at nights thinking maybe I should have grabbed somebody by the collar, maybe I should’ve turned a table over, would that have made a difference? Even two years later, I still can’t make sense of it in my mind.”
Here’s Charles at the Congressional Hearing about Maternal Mortality
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“For those of you that chose to stand in opposition of this bill. You don’t owe me an explanation. You owe an explanation to my boys. You owe Tara Hansen’s @tarahansenfoundation son an explanation. You owe @mu.shabazz and his son Muhsin an explanation…. Is time to stop telling our children they can change the world, and show them how it’s done.” Every time I have an opportunity to share Kira’s story I do so with an extremely heavy heart carrying thoughts of the countless families that have been effected by the maternal mortality crisis. Our voices will be heard! CHANGE IS COMING! #APPLYPRESSURE #CHANGEISCOMING #EVERYMOMCOUNTS #4kira4moms #marchformoms #love
By Michaé Baisden