Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Health Care Crisis: Higher Numbers of Black Mothers Dying Giving Birth
by Angela Brown

African American mothers dying at higher rate during child birth. (WCIV)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) — One local doctor is calling it a public health emergency.

Black mothers are dying at higher rates in child birth.

What is the health care crisis that is taking the lives of African American mothers?

The Center for Disease Control says African American women are three to four times more likely to die in child birth than white women.

Dr. Scott Sullivan from MUSC says there are many factors contributing to higher death rates for African American women during childbirth including that African American women are more likely to be in poverty or working poor without great access to nutrition and medical care.

But Dr. Sullivan says more research needs to be done because even African American mothers with higher incomes are also dying at higher rates.

Dr. Sullivan believes racism is a factor.

“Sometimes it’s overt and sometimes unconscious,” says Dr. Sullivan.

African American South Carolina mom Ki’Tara Locklear believes doctors need to listen more to their patients.

She is about to give birth to her second child.

Ki'Tara lost her first baby. She believes her doctor didn't follow through when she got sick during her first pregnancy.

"When you get to the point when you may become high-risk they act like they want to do everything in their power, but you should have listened to me in the beginning when I came to you the first time,” says Locklear.

Sullivan believes more training is needed.

“We have put more attention on our students and our residents to be better listeners to have more empathy and to be more aware of their bias," Sullivan said.

Doctors say other solutions involve getting more mothers insured long before pregnancy and increasing access to maternal care in rural communities.

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