Letter to the Editor: RI’s Infant Mortality Rate

Pregnant Lashonda Hazard walked into Women & Infants on Sunday [1/6/19] because she had excruciating abdominal pain; in her own words, “I am dying.” Acute abdominal pain can sometimes be a symptom of severe and deadly preeclampsia. She said they checked her baby and sent her home. She was very angry that they did not help her, as you can see from her social media post after the encounter. Lashonda and her baby died the next day.

Facebook post by Lashonda Hazard shortly before her death

Facebook post by Lashonda Hazard shortly before her death

There has been much in the media about how, even though we spend the most money in the world on obstetrical care, we have some of the worst maternal and neonatal outcomes. Black women and their families experience four times the rate of maternal death then white women in the United States. What, if anything, has Women & Infants done about this? How could a woman walk in complaining of pain, a black woman, and not have a complete workup for that pain? Why are we STILL not listening to black women?

With the resources we have in this country we can do better medically, but it is equally imperative that we discuss the underlying racial issues and discrimination involved in black women’s health.

Paige Eastman Dickinson, CPM, LM

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