One of my staff members recently shared a story with me of one of our program participants that was in active labor and sitting in the Emergency Room for hours before being admitted to labor and delivery. She was approximately 24 weeks pregnant and unfortunately prematurely delivered and lost twins. Mom went to the ER with complaints of not feeling well and a fever. She explained that she was pregnant and provided her anticipated due date. This young woman is also African-American. She was alone, scared, and hoping for the best. She was hoping that she did not have COVID-19 and that her children would be okay.
She shared that she was screaming because she was in excoriating pain as she waited to be treated. When she was finally admitted to labor and delivery, she stated that she was told that she would be prepped for delivery of the twins. The children did not survive, one passed that evening and the other passed away the following day. My frustration is why was this mom was not immediately admitted to Labor & Delivery if she was presenting a fever and pain? Could this tragedy have been prevented if she had been seen sooner? Are our ERs that overcrowded due to COVID-19 that our delivering mothers cannot be treated and monitored to ensure a healthy birth? She was doing all the right things, attending her regular doctor's appointments, etc. What happened here? Why were her health concerns and needs so easily dismissed?
I do not know if this a problem in the Emergency Rooms that is only exasperated by the COVID-19 pandemic or if it isolated to the fair medical treatment of African-American women.