Amber Isaac, 26, was a recent casualty in the ongoing epidemic regarding how Black mothers are undervalued and treated in the halls of America’s medical corridors.
Amber died on Tuesday, April 21, at the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, stemming from complications in delivering her son Elias who was born after midnight. Her partner Bruce McIntyre, 28 told THE CITY, that Amber’s intuition regarding her birth was palpable in the weeks leading up to her birth.
“She had mentioned to me that she feels like she’s not gonna make it,” her partner, Bruce said. “And I would try my best to cheer her up. She would tell her mom she’s really glad the baby is healthy, but she’s scared that she’s not gonna make it.”
Amber spent many nights researching the maternal mortality rate among Black women, which continued to raise her concerns. Black women die at a rate three to four times higher than their white counterparts postpartum. In New York City, Black women are eight more times likely to die from birth complications than white women.
And not only do Black women have to deal with a high maternal mortality rate, they are often not believed or thought to be able to handle more pain than white patients and non-Black patients of color.
On the night Amber went into labor Bruce shared that she was taken into an emergency c-section, where he was not allowed to enter due to the doctor’s administering a local anesthesia.
“As soon as they took the baby out, her heart stopped,” he said. “And she bled out. Her platelet levels were so low that her blood was like water, so nothing was clotting.”
Prior to Amber’s death, she was told by medical staff at Montefiore that her blood platelets were low. After convening with doctor’s via video chat due to restrictions laid out by the coronavirus, Amber was asked to come to the hospital on April 21 after she called and sent numerous emails regarding her condition. Prior to her hospital visit, she tweeted, “Can’t wait to write a tell all about my experience during my last two trimesters dealing with incompetent doctors at Montefiore.
Doctor’s admitted her to the hospital after discovering her platelet count had further dropped.
“They wouldn’t let me hug or kiss her because I had masks and stuff on,” he said. “So I told her I loved her and we were gonna get through this.”
And while their son is healthy, yet still interned in the hospital after being delivered a month early, he will go throughout his life without knowing his mother, leaving Bruce to contend with grief and fatherhood with the support of family and friends. The family has set up a GoFundMe to raise funds for Elias and for Amber’s funeral service.
According to THE CITY, Montefiore has not returned requests to comment.
New York based officials and politicians have created task force groups to address the maternal mortality rate for Black women in the state which is high above the national average. However, there have not been enough discussions regarding whether or not the task force groups have worked to administer results which would save the life of women who don’t have to die.
“She was meant to do so much more,” Kattie Guerrero-Valoy, a friend of Amber’s told THE CITY. “She was so full of love and so much light. And I wish she could be here right now to see her beautiful son.”
“She was treated very unfairly,” McIntyre said. “And she died because of that.”