LOS ANGELES (AP) — The husband of a Black woman who died hours after childbirth in 2016 sued Cedars-Sinai Medical hospital on Wednesday, saying she bled to death because of a culture of racism at the renowned Los Angeles medical center.
Charles Johnson IV said he discovered the disparity in care women of color receive at Cedars compared to white women during depositions in his wrongful death lawsuit that is scheduled to go to trial next week in Los Angeles Superior Court.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that my wife would be here today and be here Sunday celebrating Mother’s Day with her boys if she was a Caucasian woman,” Johnson said at a news conference outside the hospital. “The reality is that on April 12, 2016, when we walked into Cedars-Sinai hospital for what we expected to be the happiest day of our lives, the greatest risk factor that Kira Dixon Johnson faced was racism.”
Johnson died about 12 hours after having a scheduled cesarean section that was performed in 17 minutes to deliver the couple’s second son, Langston.
Despite signs she was bleeding internally, she languished for hours without being readmitted to the operating room until it was too late, the lawsuit said.
“This is sloppy. It was butchery,” attorney Nick Rowley said. “It shocked everybody that we deposed, all the health care providers, even the head of (obstetrics) here, the head of labor and delivery, looked at it and said ‘No, I’ve never seen one done that fast.’”
The surgeon who performed the C-section had cut into Kira Johnson’s bladder and she hadn’t been sutured properly, Rowley said. When she was finally brought back into the operating room, nearly 90% of her blood was found in her stomach.
The hospital, which has fought the malpractice lawsuit, said in a statement that it was founded on principles of diversity and health care for all and it rejected “any mischaracterization of our culture and values.”
“We are actively working to eradicate unconscious bias in health care and advance equity in health care more broadly,” the statement said. “We commend Mr. Johnson for the attention he has brought to the important issue of racial disparities in maternal outcomes.”
Charles Johnson, right, is surrounded by his legal team Chris Dolan, left, in blue, Courtney Rowley, center, and Nick Rowley, second from right, during a press conference announcing a lawsuit outside Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Wednesday, May 4, 2022, in Los …read more