The family and friends of a New York woman who died during childbirth are demanding answers from the Brooklyn hospital where she was admitted. On Thursday, protesters emerged outside of the medical facility to bring attention to her death and the mortality rates of Black women throughout the state of New York and the nation.
Sha-Asia Washington was looking forward to the birth of her first child with her partner, Juwan Lopez. According to a GoFundMe, started in the 26-year-old’s honor, she had just moved into her own apartment and was anticipating the joys of being a mom. On July 3, she was admitted into Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn. While undergoing a cesarean section, Washington passed away.
In a statement from Woodhull Hospital, a spokesperson said, “NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull is saddened by this tremendous loss. Our heartfelt condolences go to the family, friends and community who bear the unspeakable pain of their loved one taken from them too soon. While all maternal mortality is tragic, we are too well aware that pregnant women of color die at much higher rates, and we are particularly disheartened when such a death occurs on our watch, no matter the cause.”
The hospital added that it is committed to addressing maternal mortality disparities and is vigorously pursuing expanding access to care to eliminate “race-based health care gaps” and prevent tragedies like Washington’s in the future.
Washington’s loved ones are reeling from her sudden loss. A crowdraising campaign has been started to help Lopez, who is now a single father, and Khloe, the couple’s daughter. To date the initiative has raised more than $70,000 and has received support from entertainers like Amy Schumer, who noted on social media that Black women in New York City are 12 times more likely to die during child birth.
As Sha-Asia Washington’s family continues to demand answers, protesters are also demanding that New York publish its birth outcomes. A change.org petition highlights the fact that three Black mothers have lost their lives due to childbirth this year. One of whom was Amber Rose Isaac, who was also 26, after she went into a Bronx hospital to give birth to her son.