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A Detroit mother died from an unexplained brain hemorrhage after entering the hospital for a routine C-section. Relatives are reeling from the loss as they search for answers regarding her tragic death. 

Alona Tanay White, 25, complained about a headache around 4:30 a.m. after delivering a little girl via C-section on March 7. A GoFundMe created after her death explained that White nursed Baby Ari before revealing she wasn’t feeling well. Her mother, Katrina Ponder, said by the time a nurse came, her daughter was “unresponsive.” 

The young mother and her husband, Derrick, went to Ascension St. John Hospital on Detroit’s east side for the scheduled delivery. The parents welcomed their second daughter, Ari, in the afternoon, and the infant was taken to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).

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A CT scan revealed excessive bleeding on the left side of White’s brain. Neurosurgeons performed an emergency craniotomy on the mother of two. A craniotomy is a procedure where a portion of a patient’s skull is surgically removed to expose the brain, John Hopkins Medicine states. There are many reasons why a patient would undergo the procedure, including “removing blood or blood clots from a leaking blood vessel.”

Following the invasive procedure, White was placed in the intensive care unit for five days before she passed away, according to Fox 2. An obituary reported her death date as March 13.

Two funeral services were held for the devoted mother. On March 22, Clora Funeral Home had a homegoing celebration for White, and the second service was held March 23 at Triumph Church. Both locations were on the east side of Detroit.

 Alona White’s Mother Speaks Out

Ponder said her 25-year-old daughter was “excited” about her second child’s birth, and she also revealed that White only bonded with Baby Ari for an hour.

“It’s just so — it’s so unfair that she was robbed of life like that. I just don’t understand what happened,” Ponder told the news outlet. She described White as “perfectly healthy” before her death. The woman’s grief-stricken family awaits an autopsy.

The young wife and mother is survived by her 2-year-old daughter, Aleah, Baby Ari, husband Derrick, Ponder and other family members. The 25-year-old’s GoFundMe read that her loved ones are “very devastated” over the tragic loss. The fundraiser has raised over $16,000 of its $20,000 goal.

WebMD highlights that 36 percent of Black women undergo C-sections every year, compared to 30 percent of their white counterparts. In addition, Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women, according to the CDC.

Research has explored the links between pregnancy and intracerebral or intracranial hemorrhaging.

Intracerebral hemorrhaging is bleeding in brain tissue caused by damaged blood vessels. It is considered “the second most common cause of stroke (15-30% of strokes) and the most deadly,” the American Association of Neurological Surgeons reported

A 2019 study found that patients experiencing intracerebral hemorrhaging during pregnancy or postpartum “were more likely to be Black or Asian (compared to White).” The data found that more susceptible patients had a history of hypertension, diabetes, substance abuse and other conditions. 

The American Heart Association reported the study also revealed: “that women who are pregnant or postpartum have three times the risk of intracerebral hemorrhage compared to when they are not.”

Findings published in 2020 noted that “maternal and fetal mortality were higher” for women who suffered an intracerebral hemorrhage in their third trimester or within 12 weeks postpartum.

Comparatively, intracranial hemorrhaging is bleeding into the skull, which can cause pressure on the brain. Research published in 2009 claimed that the risk of intracranial hemorrhaging increased in a mother’s third trimester and is “greatest” in postpartum.

While the mortality rate is high for both types of bleeding in pregnancy and postpartum, the events are considered rare.

MADAMENOIRE has extensively reported on possible links between maternal death rates and systematic, structural racism in healthcare. 

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