As described by her husband, Kira Johnson was a highly intelligent and capable woman who spoke five languages. Unfortunately, she will never be able to use her skills and smarts ever again. The young mother passed away as a result of a doctor failing to address the post-childbirth complications she was experiencing.
Charles Johnson, Kira’s husband, explained that she struggled to recover after giving birth to their second son on April 12, 2016. Despite the couple’s consistent request, it took the medical team to get a CT scan. By that time it was too late and they couldn’t save Kira.
Kira Wasn’t Herself After Giving Birth
Kira was an unstoppable woman according to her husband. He was the one who first realized that something wasn’t right with her otherwise outgoing and active wife after birth. As he tried to figure out what was wrong, he noticed blood in her catheter.
He alerted the nurses and doctors right away. Though the medical team ordered a CT scan to be performed STAT, it didn’t happen immediately as Charles assumed it would. He kept pushing the doctors and nurses to address Kira’s issue without much notice.
It Was Too Late by the Time She Got a CT
Hours past when Kira started to tremble and shake uncontrollably. She was in a lot of pain and felt sensitive to touch as well. Yet, there was no sign of a CT scan.
Eventually, the doctors showed up to take her to an internal scan. It was supposed to take 15 minutes, but Charles never saw his wife alive again. The CT found 3 liters of blood in Kira’s stomach. She died from a hemorrhage only 12 hours after giving birth to her second son.
What was supposed to be a day of celebration welcoming a new life, became a day of devastation for Charles losing his wife. It was supposed to be the happiest day, yet it became a waking nightmare. Two years later he still can’t comprehend what happened.
Charles’s mother is Judge Glenda Hatched, known for her reality court TV show, Judge Hatchett. Along with Charles, she was heart-broken and devastated by Kira’s passing. While they celebrate the new baby, they are saddened by the loss. Knowing that it could’ve been prevented by appropriate medical care is upsetting, to say the least.
Black Women Are Not Listened to
Sadly, Kira’s story is not an isolated incident. Black women get ignored every day for their medical needs. Pregnancy-related deaths are also on a rise.
Doctors take women in pain less serious than men in pain, and black women are more affected. For every 100,000 births in the U.S., 26 women die. According to the Nine Maternal Mortality Review Committee, at least 700 women die in the U.S. every year from pregnancy-related causes. This is an enormous number for a developed nation with good hospitals and well-trained doctors. Black women are the ones who are being impacted the most by maternal mortality.
Serena Williams Had a Bad Experience Too
It is not only poor black women affected, but all black women experience discrimination at a certain level. Serena Williams has talked about that she felt the effects of doctors not listening to black women. She has a medical history of pulmonary embolism, which is a condition in which one or more arteries in the lungs become blocked by blood clots. She recognized her symptoms when she felt short of breath and alerted nurses right away. However, they didn’t list at first. Being aware of her symptoms, and possibly being a strong woman with status, she was able to get hold of her doctors to get a CT scan and a heparin drip. She experienced complications for days but her assertiveness saved her life.
Still, what if she wasn’t Serena Williams, a well-known athlete, a rich black woman. What if she was an average black woman without fame? What if she was a woman who wasn’t aware of her condition and didn’t know she needed to request a CT?
Deaths like Kira Johnson’s and other serious consequences of medical complications could be prevented if doctors just listened to black women more carefully.
If you are at your doctor or in the hospital for any reason, listen to your body and your intuition. Speak up and insist on getting medical attention, testing, and care until you receive one. Your life may depend on how loud you can speak.
What do you think about discrimination in healthcare? Have you ever felt that your doctor didn’t listen to you? Share your experiences with us. We would love to hear your thoughts.