The ABC News segment, Dying to Deliver was well appreciated by yours truly and a woman named Anne Garrett, who has been sounding the alarm about this devastating problem for over two decades.
Garrett, is a mom who had not one, but two near-death experiences due to preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome shortly after giving birth to her sons. The experience of nearly dying – twice compelled her to start the Garrett Singh Family Foundation which ultimately was converted from a private family foundation to a public charity known as the Preeclampsia Foundation to help increase awareness of the potentially devastating effects of preeclampsia and HELLP syndrome.
Long before the acclaimed article, The Last Person You Would Expect to Die by NPR and Nina Martin came to light (for which I am eternally grateful), an article written by Amnesty International, entitled Deadly Delivery, addressed this same issue. Garrett and I both read that article back in 2011 although we didn’t know each other at the time. She ultimately reached out to me based on my prenatal book, The Smart Mother’s Guide to a Better Pregnancy, and my description of the maternal death of one of my sorority sisters, Dawn Fleming from preeclampsia. In addition, she reached out to me because I am an African American OB-GYN physician and she knew that women who look like me die from preeclampsia at a disproportionate rate in compared to others. Her honesty and transparency are commendable.
Today Garrett runs a private Facebook page, called The Unexpected Project where over 1100 women and families who have experienced pregnancy-related death or near death have, as Garrett states, “a safe place to land.”
Garrett shares my passion about reducing maternal mortality. She and Unexpected Project Co-founder Jennifer Binkley Carney have hosted survivor forums, sponsored legislation, and are working on a book and documentary named Unexpected and I will be launching a prenatal app to mitigate these preventable deaths soon. We both want to make a difference.
The voices of our deceased sisters are being heard from their graves saying: “please stop these avoidable deaths.”
And people are FINALLY beginning to listen.
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