Dying for Life: Turn to Tara team shines spotlight on Black maternal mortality crisis

While childbirth is typically one of the most exciting and joyous chapters in anyone's life, our News 12 investigation shows that the experience for many moms in our area is marred by fear and mostly preventable tragedies.

Tara Rosenblum

Apr 10, 2022, 7:40 PM

Updated 768 days ago

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MOUNT VERNON - Data obtained by the "Turn To Tara' team shows black mothers in America are roughly three times more likely to die in childbirth than white women.
Across the tri-state, the rates are even higher. Women in New York City are dying at rates similar to nations like Kazakhstan and Iran.
While childbirth is typically one of the most exciting and joyous chapters in anyone's life, our News 12 investigation shows that the experience for many moms in our area is marred by fear and mostly preventable tragedies.
Mount Vernon Mayor Shawyn Patterson-Howard says that the data provides proof that our medical system is failing women of color.
"These are issues we have always known about as a community of color but COVID just revealed it in a broader capacity," says Patterson-Howard.
Patterson-Howard also says she has been touched by the crisis personally.
"It didn't take a study. It took an experience, one that I won't forget,” says the mayor. “I lost a daughter at 6 1/2 months, I almost died delivering the placenta. So, if you know someone who's educated and has good medical coverage can almost die, it's very real."
Patterson-Howard continues: 'It's not something I talk about often because I had to make some hard decisions. You must go through the hard part of holding them until they take their last breath. And you must go through the whole process of burying them because it's not a miscarriage, it's not a pretty story. It's nothing that people want to hear on the news but it's still true. It's a little quiet secret inconvenient truth."
Amid the maternal mortality struggle, hope may be on the horizon.
State Senator Alessandra Biaggi has co-sponsored a bill that ended the immunity clause for medical malpractice during the pandemic. The law had largely prevented families from seeking legal recourse from hospitals and doctors when tragedies occurred.
Resources:
saveArose is a nonprofit organization who seek to eliminate the systemic flaws within maternal health care, to bring the first ever freestanding Midwifery led birth center to the Bronx, and to bring better birthing options to the community.
We are Saving Mothers because no woman should die giving life. Saving Mothers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to eradicating preventable maternal deaths and birth-related complications in low-resource settings.
The Center’s central goal is to provide a continuum of learning opportunities that enhance the capacity of all maternal health practitioners across the country. Established in November 2019, the MHLIC aims to advance federal and state-level efforts to eliminate preventable maternal deaths and reduce severe maternal morbidity, using equity as the cornerstone of all services. We actively work to center antiracist principles and continuous intercultural development.
Ever enduring is our commitment to eliminate the Infant Mortality & Maternal Morbidity Rate through collective work and offering resources to the families and community that we serve information to make informed decisions about the care they recieve. Our approach comes from a Holistic and Traditional foundation intertwining that with modern modalities realizing that in order to move on in the future we must not forget the foundation that has been left for us to continue to build on.
A Bronx-based cooperative providing doula services, movement classes and educational workshops for people before, during and after childbirth. Sésé also offers mentorship and consulting services to individuals and organizations wanting to integrate birth justice into their work.
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