Charles Johnson is suing Cedars-Sinai Medical Center over the wrongful death of his wife, Kira.
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center was recently hit with a lawsuit over claims that Charles Johnson’s wife, Kira, unnecessarily “died during what was supposed to be a routine C-section” for the birth of his now three-year-old son, Langston. Though the tragic incident occurred three years ago, Johnson is still grieving the loss of his wife and remains angry over what happened that night. When recalling what happened, he said, “I can see the Foley catheter coming from Kira’s bedside turn pink with blood.” He added that he and his wife were continuously ignored by hospital staff before her death, and wants justice for something he believes could have been avoided.
Johnson said that after his son’s cesarean birth, his wife appeared unwell and was suffering. He said, “I just held her by her hand and said, ‘Please look, my wife isn’t doing well.’ This woman looked me directly in my eye and said, ‘Sir, your wife is not a priority right now.’ It wasn’t until 12.30 a.m. the next morning that they finally decided to take Kira back to surgery.” When Kira was finally wheeled back into surgery, the doctor found “3 and a half liters of blood in her abdomen from where she’d been allowed to bleed internally for almost ten hours. And, her heart stopped immediately,” Johnson said.
As a result, Johnson decided to sue the hospital and even began researching and learning about the maternal mortality crisis going on here in the U.S. He said the crisis “isn’t just shameful for American standards, it is shameful on a global scale.” The charity, Every Mother Counts, agrees. Founded by supermodel Christy Turlington, the organization works around the world to highlight maternal health. According to the organization, “America is the only developed country with a rising death rate for pregnant or new mothers. Approximately 700 women in the U.S. die each year.” It added:
“Globally, the comparison is stark. More mothers die in childbirth in America than they do in Iran, Turkey or Bosnia Herzegovina and Kazakhstan. All have lower maternal death rates.”
As for why the recent trend in the U.S. is occurring, Every Mother Counts said its because of “an unequal healthcare system and systemic racism.” Public health experts also chimed in on the matter and said the crisis isn’t limited to poor and sick mothers, but also “healthy college-educated African American women.” Wanda Barfield, the director of the Division of Reproductive Health at the CDC said:
“We do know there may be issues in terms of institutional racism. A well-educated African American woman with more than a high school education has a five-fold risk of death compared to a white woman with less than a high school education.”
In addition to suing the hospital, Johnson is also hard at work pushing for “policy changes, raising awareness and trying to hold doctors and hospitals accountable.” He said:
“There is a failure and disconnect from the people who are responsible for the lives of these precious women and babies to see them and value them in the same way they would their daughters, their mothers, their sisters.”