The black father accuses the medical staff of the New York hospital that his son’s mother died during childbirth

A black New York City father is raising awareness about black mothers’ health after his son’s mother died after childbirth.

“Her last words to me were, ‘All three of us are going home,'” said Bruce McIntyre.

It’s been a little over two years since Bruce McIntyre, 31, last saw his girlfriend Amber Rose Isaac alive.

“The 20thth was when my son was born, and of course I wanted his birth and death to be separate and not on the same day,” McIntyre said.

McIntyre, a native of the Bronx, New York, is now raising his 2-year-old son Elias as a single father, but he says the joys of parenthood often come with feelings of what doctors and nurses could have been caring for Isaac took better care of her during her pregnancy.

“We found out on September 27, 2019 that we were having a baby, her platelet counts started to drop and was in her 90’s as of December 2019. If your platelet count is over 150, you need to monitor it. If they are at 125 they need to be monitored and prepared for treatment. Hers were already in their 90s and they acted like she was fine,” McIntyre said.

McIntyre says the 26-year-old’s health took a turn for the worse during Isaac’s pregnancy, and when she shared details with her OBGYN, many of those concerns were allayed.

“We are raising these concerns with the Mayor[GYN]and her OB[GYN] tells her there are other pregnant women going through this right now so why would you go early as if her health isn’t clearly deteriorating so she’s clearly not paying attention to Amber and her symptoms,” McIntyre said.

In addition to her health concerns, McIntyre says hospital staff mismanaged Isaac’s documentation needed for sick leave and her prenatal blood work.

“They lost their blood work, lost paperwork, we’re going to get a blood work done, they don’t know where it is, the obstetrician[GYN] I didn’t send it over, they go back and forth, we don’t have time for that,” McIntyre said.

McIntyre also claimed that there were racial differences in treatment. “We didn’t understand what was going on considering there were white women who were due after Amber, got FMLA early, became disabled early, who were able to stay home with their families, and we didn’t have such luxuries,” he said.

The hospital in question, Montefiore Medical Center, which accused McIntyre of improperly treating Isaac, sent a statement to the Atlanta Black Star on the matter, stating, “Ninety-four percent of our deliveries are to minority mothers, and Montefiore has a maternal mortality rate of 0, 01% is lower than both New York City and the national average. Every maternal death is a tragedy. Our hearts go out to Ms. Isaac’s family, especially her mother, our longtime colleague.”

McIntyre says he has pending litigation against the hospital.

Isaac has been diagnosed with HELLP syndrome, a life-threatening pregnancy complication that usually occurs in the later stages of pregnancy or shortly after birth, according to the Preeclampsia Foundation.

“A white male doctor walks through a room full of black people, he runs to get a colleague to come back to give us the news and it’s been a struggle ever since,” McIntyre said of the moment Isaac’s family learned that she had not survived the pregnancy after giving birth.

McIntyre says he’s spent the past two years continuously working to raise awareness and better protections, especially for black mothers, to provide better care early in their pregnancy, and has made health insurance a focus of his advocacy work .

“There’s no responsibility to the doctors or the hospital or anything,” McIntyre said.

A CDC report released in February found that 861 women in the United States died from maternal causes in 2020, and black women were 2.9 times more likely to die in childbirth than white women that year.

“We have to take this into our own hands, no one is coming to save us. As patients, we need to be responsible for our own health,” said Nikki Montgomery, a Cleveland-based patient advocate for black mothers’ health.

Montgomery says expectant mothers should watch out for red flags, which often start with the OBGYN and the nursing staff.

“The red flags are when your provider is not listening to you, when they are not making eye contact, when they are not engaging with you, to me it says this is not a provider that is not looking at me as an individual and trying to meet my needs to fulfill. A lot of times we have these rooms where there are black doulas and a lot of people are looking for black doctors and it’s proven safer for black women in a lot of cases, so we need to know we have options,” Montgomery said.

Montgomery also recommends that expectant mothers ask their doctors to document any concerns they have during appointments.

“One of the things we talk about in healthcare is ‘stop the line,’ and stop the line means everything stops until we answer those questions. One way a patient can do that is to say, I have a concern that needs to be addressed before we proceed, come armed with your questions, come armed with your concerns, and that’s the kicker if a doctor decides not to investigate something further, let’s say I want you to document in your notes why you are not sending me for testing, because then they need to make a record of that conversation and your concerns and ignore your concerns,” said Montgomery.

McIntyre’s lobbying is also paying off. He is the focus of Hulu’s documentary, Aftershock, along with other single black fathers who are raising children due to black maternal mortality. He also founded the Save A Rose Foundation, named after Amber Rose Isaac, whose purpose is to address systemic deficiencies in maternal health care. The foundation creates a network of fraternity among fathers affected by the Black maternal mortality rate and also provides pregnancy resources, including doulas and midwives, aimed at Black and Brown women who may not have access to quality care.

“By providing access to midwifery and doula care, we have a grant program that offsets the cost of insurance premiums,” McIntyre said.

McIntyre hopes that the work he does in raising awareness of Black mothers’ health will help improve the lives of other Black families before, during and after childbirth so they don’t have to experience what he has been dealing with, the joys of parenthood coupled with the loss of a life.

“Not having her here and having her motherly warmth is tough,” the single dad said. The black father accuses the medical staff of the New York hospital that his son’s mother died during childbirth

James Brien

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