The death of a black pediatrician due to complications after giving birth after greeting their first child is highlighting the racial disparity in maternal mortality.
Dr. Chaniece Wallace, 30, died on October 22, just two days after she and her husband, Anthony Wallace Jr., welcomed their daughter, Charlotte.
The baby was born four weeks early in C-section after doctors learned that Chaniece had symptoms of pre-eclampsia, according to the GoFundMe site Anthony established. During the next two days after giving birth, Chaniece had to undergo an emergency surgery due to complications, he said.
“Three of the main challenges we face are broken liver, high blood pressure, and inadequate kidney function,”; he writes. “Chaniece fought with every strength, courage, and belief she possessed.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, preeclampsia is a blood pressure condition that usually starts after 20 weeks of pregnancy. It can sometimes develop without any symptoms but signs of the condition include increased blood pressure, changes in vision, severe headache, signs of kidney and liver problems. and upper stomach pain.
It can lead to serious complications and even death if left untreated.
Black women develop pre-eclampsia at a 60% higher rate than white women, according to a 2017 report by the Use of Health Care Expenses Project. The report also found the condition to be less serious in white women than in blacks.
And data released in January by the National Center for Health Statistics shows that black women are affected by maternal mortality at a higher rate than white women. According to the data, the national maternal mortality rate was estimated to be 17.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2018, when 658 women died.
Of those 658 deaths, researchers found that black women died 2.5 times more often than white women. Researchers have no clear explanation why this is the case.
Dr. Carmen Echols, a family medicine doctor in the Atlanta metro area, said she believes there are a number of factors including sensitivity to certain health conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol and fat. enlarged.
She said in a phone interview on Friday: “There are those pre-existing conditions, which are not fully managed and then you add physical, and in many cases, the psychological stress when Pregnancy can complicate these inherently uncontrolled conditions.
Echols said discrimination in the healthcare system and cultural bias in health education are also contributing factors.
“Knowing that discrimination exists, it is chronic stress on your body that can raise your blood pressure and the body can be affected by the physical weather,” she said.
“And when you think about population, just reduce fertility [and] preventive health care … African American women in general have reduced access to those aspects of wellness. “
To start solving the problem, she says, more discussion needs to be made.
In a tweet Oct. 27, Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo, a New York-based pediatrician and founder of Melanin Medicine & Motherhood, called for protection of black women.
“Dr. Chaniece Wallace. Please say her name. We say protect Black women because you don’t. All Black women, including medical providers, who have devote a lifetime to keeping us alive, “she wrote. “My head says don’t stop until the black women in medicine & academia are safe, protected and supported. But my heart hurts.”
Arabia Mollette, a doctor and medical expert from New York, says preeclampsia is one of the most preventable pregnancy complications, but the incidence and prognosis is still higher in black women.
“As a black female doctor, my heart mourns Dr. Wallace’s passing,” she wrote in part on Facebook. “I wish there was a different ending when she’s here to raise her daughter, Charlotte. There needs to be a revolution in #Obstetrics.”
Before she died, Chaniece was working at Riley Children’s Health Hospital in Indianapolis as a resident doctor. Her husband said on the GoFundMe page that she had completed the board exam and was interviewing for positions across the country.
Anthony was not contacted for comment on Friday.
IU Riley Peds Residency said in an Instagram post that the Chaniece’s future impact was “sure to expand” and that she was taken away too soon.
Anthony says his daughter is still in the neonatal intensive care unit and “is doing very well.”
“Chaniece even though you are not physically with us, I will always carry you in my heart and share my wonderful memories of you with our daughter Charlotte. I am forever grateful 5 the year God gave me with you, “he wrote on GoFundMe, which raised over $ 154,000 on Friday afternoon.
Moving house services for Chaniece are scheduled for Saturday.