Investigation Opened at Hospital After 2 Childbirth-Related Deaths Within Weeks

Thanks to modern medicine, improved hygiene, and much healthier moms all around, maternal death in the United States has become very, very rare. But it tragically still happens every once and a while, and in the case of one Massachusetts hospital, it’s happened twice -- only a month apart.

An investigation has been opened by state officials to look into the causes of death for Colleen Celia, 32, who died on January 15 after giving birth to her fourth child, and Christie Lee Fazio, 30, who died on December 14 after the birth of her first. The investigation by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health into South Shore Hospital is considered “standard protocol,” and the deaths don’t seem to be related.


Hospital officials released a statement saying that they had done “everything possible” for the women. They also stated, “It is too early to know the exact nature of the factors that led to these tragic outcomes. All signs suggest that the two situations were unrelated, unanticipated and unpreventable.”

It’s reported that both moms got to see their babies before they died. I wonder if they knew they were dying as doctors rushed to save them and their babies were whisked away. I can’t even imagine the pain the families must be going through right now.

The causes of death are suspected but unconfirmed. Celia apparently had an amniotic fluid embolism, which occurs when amniotic fluid enters the mother’s bloodstream and has a mortality rate of up to 80 percent. It’s believed that Fazio’s death is related to complications from a C-section.

Expectant mothers can often appear to be very healthy right until the end of their pregnancies, then “suffer a devastating complication relatively quickly,” according to Dr. Maurice Druzin, an obstetrician at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. He also said that it’s important for women to receive prenatal care during pregnancy, as well as have access to a medical support team during delivery.

“We in the ob/gyn world, we’re here for the 10 to 15 percent of patients” at risk, Druzin said.

Did you ever feel your life was in danger during or shortly after birth?


Image via Visa Kopu/Flickr

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