Woman Dies After Giving Birth, Couldn’t Get In-Person Prenatal Appointments But Abortion Clinics Were Open

National   |   Micaiah Bilger   |   May 14, 2020   |   9:45AM   |   Washington, DC

The tragic case of a New York mother who died during childbirth is raising questions about whether the coronavirus restrictions may be hurting more lives than they are saving.

On April 21, Amber Rose Isaac, 26, of the Bronx, died shortly after giving birth to her son, Elias, the Washington Examiner reports.

Isaac’s family believes her death was “100% preventable.” Bruce McIntyre, Elias’s father, said Amber could not get an in-person doctor’s appointment because of the pandemic restrictions, and that appointment could have saved her life.

“It’s very hard being in this home and imagining her here with us,” McIntyre told the Guardian. “She never got to even meet him. She never got to see him. And she was just so thrilled about having him.”

McIntyre said Amber had a treatable condition called HELLP syndrome that doctors diagnosed too late. The condition affects the blood and liver and can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated quickly, according to the Preeclampsia Foundation.

He said Amber noticed symptoms of the condition in February, but she could not get an in-person appointment. He said all of her prenatal visits were virtual appointments.

Once doctors realized that she had HELLP syndrome, they decided to induce her a month early, according to the report. She gave birth to her son on April 21 and died a short time later.

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Here’s more from the Guardian:

Isaac tried to raise the alarm and figure out what was happening, but her medical team at first ignored her calls. When she finally had blood work done and was later admitted to the hospital, she entered scared and alone – neither her mother nor McIntyre was initially allowed to join her.

She died on 21 April, after being induced more than a month early, then rushed into an emergency C-section. The surgeon she had been assigned wasn’t present.

Her family said she died alone in her hospital room because the coronavirus restrictions prevented them from seeing her, the report states. The family set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for funeral expenses.

Dr. Joia Crear-Perry, founder and president of the National Birth Equity Collaborative, told the Guardian that treatment for HELLP usually works when diagnosed early.

“It’s definitely not something that people in the United States generally die from,” Crear-Perry said. “If you are a person who has been receiving prenatal care and people are aware that you have something going on, it’s not a surprise, you’re able to manage it with treatment.”

While women like Amber Isaac are finding it difficult to get basic, potentially life-saving medical care for themselves and their babies, abortion clinics in New York remain open and unrestricted during the health crisis. Somehow, in New York, prenatal care for moms and babies is not considered “essential” health care, but killing an unborn baby in an abortion is.

Recently, medical groups representing more than 30,000 doctors in America emphasized that abortions are not “essential” or “urgent,” and abortion facilities that continue to operate during the pandemic are being “medically irresponsible.”