‘I’m literally dying’ are the heartbreaking words an expectant, black mother shared hours before she and her unborn baby died in the hospital
Lashonda Hazard was a healthy, 27-year-old expecting mother. She died on January 7 at her local hospital after complaining of severe stomach pain. Her unborn baby died, too. According to a viral Facebook post, Hazard felt she wasn’t being taken seriously by medical staff before dying.
Her last texts are utterly heartbreaking.
According to a GoFundMe page created by her best friend, Nicole Beasley, Hazard and her unborn child passed away “unexpectedly” at the Woman & Infant Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island due to “reasons unknown.”
A viral Facebook post, also appearing on the page for Pantsuit Nation, shows screenshots from the hours before Hazard’s death, where the mother-to-be verbalized the amount of severe pain she was in while in the hospital. She also made it clear she didn’t feel she was being taken seriously, or having her concerns addressed in a way that gave her answers or made her feel better.
Shortly after, she was dead.
“I’m literally dying.” No one, but especially not a pregnant mother, should be left feeling frustrated, scared, and bereft of answers while in a hospital. Black mothers and babies are especially vulnerable in situations like this in the U.S.
A national study conducted surrounding the five medical complications that are common causes of maternal death and injury showed that black women were two to three times more likely to die than white women who had the same condition.
In fact, the reason the maternal rate in the U.S. is so much higher than other affluent countries is directly related to the rate that black mothers die in our country versus white mothers. The World Health Organization estimates that black expectant and new mothers in the U.S. die at about the same rate as women in countries such as Mexico and Uzbekistan.
An open letter is being shared on Facebook in honor of Lashonda Hazard, titled “We Believe Black Women.” In it, the author calls for justice for Hazard and other black mothers, and major calls for action. “In a world that does not believe or trust Black women, the level of risk has immeasurable consequences and the implications for quality of care and quality of life are urgent.”
The letter specifically advocates for public funding at city and state levels for community-based programs that can help remedy “social inequities broadly, with a particular emphasis on Black Maternal Child Health.” There is also a call to invest in the leadership of maternal health providers of color — particularly doulas, labor nurses, lactation consultants, midwives, obstetricians, and gynecologists.
It’s a heartbreaking but sobering reality for many women in the black community, and it’s completely unacceptable. Continuing the dialogue surrounding tragedies like Lashonda Hazard’s is vital if we want to fight for change and eventually see it. These women deserve to be heard and believed, but more than that — they, and their babies, deserve to live.
The donations from the GoFundMe set up by Hazard’s friend will go directly to her family so they can give her a proper funeral and burial. You can donate to the fund here.
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