Black Resident Dies After Childbirth, Highlights Tragic Trend


Chaniece Wallace, MD, and Anthony Wallace

Chaniece Wallace, MD, a senior pediatrician at Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, died on October 24 after complications from her preeclampsia 4 days after giving birth by caesarean section, according to her husband, Anthony Wallace.

Their daughter Charlotte Wallace was born on October 20, weighing 4.5 pounds. She was cared for in the newborn intensive care unit.

Anthony Wallace shared Chaniece’s story on a GoFundMe page, writing, “October 20, 2020 [Chaniece’s] The doctors told us that she was developing symptoms of preeclampsia. “He added that she has a broken liver, high blood pressure and that her kidney function is declining.

“Chaniece fought with every strength, every courage and every belief she had,” he continued.

Announcing Wallace’s death, the Riley Hospital for Children wrote: “It is with a heavy and broken heart that we announce the loss of one of our beloved friends, colleagues and co-bosses.” Chaniece “suffered postpartum complications after giving birth to a healthy 35-week-old baby. [S]He received excellent care in her maternity hospital by a complete and equally devastated health team. “

Eric Raynal, MD, co-chief, told Medscape Medical News that Chanieces preeclampsia “developed unusually quickly. It was recognized immediately and is particularly serious,” he said.

“I think everyone in our ward and medical community who has been caring for her in the hospital is at a loss as to why her case of preeclampsia was so severe and didn’t get better after giving birth to their baby Charlotte,” he said.

“As doctors, we try to find answers and reasons for everything we do in our medical practice, and it is very frustrating when families ask us to explain things that are inexplicable,” said Raynal.

The Riley Hospital statement said Wallace completed her pediatric education in June and is beginning to explore career opportunities as an outpatient pediatrician.

“”[H]The future effects, which are sure to be expansive, were taken away all too suddenly, “the announcement said.

Black women triple the risk of maternal death

Clinicians commented on social media that Wallace’s death highlights a dire statistic in US health care: Black, Native American, and Alaskan women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women for disease control data, according to recent centers.

Newborn hospital doctor Shawnté James, MD, mourned Wallace on Twitter, saying, “Birth isn’t safe for black women in America. It’s overwhelming.”

Rachel Vreeman, MD added, “Heartbroken from a recent loss: a pediatrician at a major academic medical center with the same dire pregnancy complication as me. Except she’s black and she died.”

Raynal said, “What we know and can verify is that preeclampsia is more common in black women. We wouldn’t say that chanieces preeclampsia and preeclampsia in women in general are ‘preventable'” “

Raynal said Wallace was aware of their risk and they routinely discussed it in private. She had also discussed the risks with her medical team.

“Her medical team was extraordinary and diverse, spanning multiple specialties. Why we say it’s so frustrating it doesn’t matter to her. She still died,” he said.

Childhood in Mobile, Alabama

Chaniece Wallace grew up in Mobile, Alabama and spent her undergraduate years at the University of Alabama, according to the residents of Indiana University School of Medicine.

She was interested in the legal profession and her hobbies included “dancing and Netflix marathons,” according to her IU profile.

Rupal Joshi, MD, now a family doctor in Chicago, told Medscape Medical News that Wallace was the perfect choice to become a chief medical officer.

“When I say brilliant I literally mean it,” she said. She said Wallace also feels sorry for patients who make them stand out, speak directly to the children, and get to know their families.

Wallace had a particular talent for training other medical students, Joshi said. She had told Joshi that once she started practicing independently, she wanted to continue.

“I knew that this care and compassion combined with this type of intelligence in medicine is a great combination for someone to lead the next class of residents,” Joshi said.

By Wednesday noon, the funding page requesting $ 5,000 for family support had exceeded $ 105,000.

Marcia Frellick is a freelance journalist based in Chicago. She has previously written for the Chicago Tribune and and was an editor for the Chicago Sun-Times, the Cincinnati Enquirer, and the St. Cloud (Minnesota) Times. Follow her on Twitter at @mfrellick.

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