One of Los Angeles’ largest hospitals, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, is under fire after it was hit with a federal civil rights investigation over its treatment of Black mothers, the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed Thursday.
In the years following, the victim’s family filed a lawsuit against the hospital, which has since been settled out of court. At the time of the suit’s filing, Johnson’s husband, Charles Johnson IV, accused the hospital of racism and said her race played a role in why his wife died while delivering their second son.
A letter obtained by The Los Angeles Times found that the hospital informed Johnson that the government would be reviewing their compliance with civil rights laws after accusing the institution of giving Black women a lower standard of care during labor.
“Maternal health is a priority for the Biden-Harris Administration and one in which the HHS Office for Civil Rights is working on around the country to ensure equity and equality in health care,” HHS officials wrote in a statement obtained by Forbes.
Furthermore, Cedears-Sinai said that it has “long been concerned” with Black maternal health disparities, and is working diligently to provide Black birth equity.
Following Johnson’s C-section, her husband noticed that she lost a large amount of blood and informed her doctor of his concern. A surgical emergency CT scan was ordered, but according to the lawsuit, a scan was never performed. Doctors then found three liters of blood in her abdomen when she went in for surgery, leading her to die from hemorrhagic shock.
In lawsuit filings, Johnson said his civil rights were violated and her race was a factor in the slapdash healthcare she received. His wife’s death is just one of many cases among Black women in the country. According to the CDC, Black women are three times more likely to die from maternal mortality compared to white women.