Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles is facing a civil rights investigation Black women giving birth are treated in his hospital.
“Maternal health is a priority for the Biden-Harris Administration and one where the HHS Office for Civil Rights is working across the country to ensure equity and equality in health care. To protect the integrity of this ongoing investigation, we have no further comment,” the US Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement to CNN.
The federal investigation follows Charles Johnson IV filed a civil rights lawsuit in May 2022 against Cedars-Sinai following the 2016 death of his wife, Kira, who had gone to the hospital to give birth to their second son.
An autopsy revealed Johnson died of massive internal bleeding following a planned C-section, CNN previously reported.
The suit stated that Johnson’s civil rights were violated and she was denied medical care because of her race, “resulting in her untimely and wrongful death.”
Cedars-Sinai declined to comment specifically on the federal civil rights investigation, but said in a statement to CNN, “Cedars-Sinai clinicians, leaders and researchers have long been concerned about national disparities in Black maternal health, and we are proud of work. we have done (and continue to do) to address these issues in Los Angeles, as well as at the state and national levels.”
Earlier, Cedars-Sinai said it commended Johnson “for bringing attention to the important issue of racial disparities in maternal outcomes. While federal privacy laws prevent us from being directly accountable for any patient’s care, we have a long-standing commitment to making any changes to ensure we provide the highest level of patient care.”
Black maternal death rates have risen steadily in the United States for decades, CNN previously reported. Black mothers are nearly three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women, with 69.9 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2021, According to the CDC. Many factors contribute to the racial disparities seen in the data, including underlying chronic conditions, structural racism and implicit bias, the CDC found.