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April Valentine

#birthequity babygoals doulas hospitalfail justice4april justiceforapril maternaldeath maternalmortality medicalmalpractice nursefail paternal postpartum depression preggers pregnant toxicwork Mar 09, 2023

The case of April Valentine annoys me to my core. I read about her story and I did not see that she made any moves that were not deliberate. Quick refresher, she was in a committed relationship, wanted to have a baby, had prenatal care, retained the services of a doula, & had a black Ob Gyn. None of this mattered in the last 24 hours of her life, as on the day that her daughter was born, she lost her life.

It has been reported that she had a leg complaint after receiving an epidural and was repeatedly ignored. Ultimately, she developed shortness of breath and passed away. That is all that is known currently. It was also explained that the nurses did not assess her and that her distress was not, or was not fully, communicated with her physician. I know that we will learn more after the investigation is complete.

Now, she had a doula that was barred from entry to the hospital. If her doula was present, would it have made a difference?

Now, she had nurses who were assigned to her in the hospital. Nurses who are patient advocates. Nurses who are the gatekeepers in many ways to life saving interactions. Nurses who hold patient outcomes in their hands.

If they had assessed the patient, would it have made a difference?

If they had called the Ob Gyn and gotten cursed out and then stopped there, would it have made a difference? (this has happened to me quite a few times as a night nurse)

What if they called the nurse supervisor when the doctor failed to act? Would it have made a difference?

What if the nursing supervisor could not respond and the nurse then called the in house Ob? Would it have made a difference?

What if that Ob was tied up in an emergency c-section and the nurse then called administration, would April Valentine then get to see her daughter’s face?

I don’t know the answers. Maybe despite all interventions by fate she was meant to die on that day, but at least every attempt for advocacy would have been made.

And I understand what it feels like to be burnt out, to be weary, to desire not to have to do one more thing. But the consequences are too high at the bedside.

I know that I have not mentioned the toxic environment that healthcare can produce.

I know that I have not mentioned race because… it is so heavy to process.

I know that I have not mentioned blinders that can limit our differential diagnoses when we become “experts” in patient care.

All that I choose to focus on is the inaction of my profession and the loss of a mother who tried her best to be there.


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