Wkyc.com: Death of Tori Bowie sparks conversation in Northeast Ohio about women’s healthcare

Sourced from: WKYC Studios
Originally written by: Lydia Esparra

Complications in pregnancy and child birth are much more common in black women according to the CDC.

EUCLID, Ohio — The shocking death of world champion sprinter and three-time Olympic medalist Tori Bowie while she was eight months pregnant has brought awareness to the dangers women, especially women of color, face while carrying and delivering their babies.  

On Tuesday, an autopsy found possible complications contributing to Bowie’s death, including respiratory distress and eclampsia. 

Certified nurse midwife Da’na Langford told 3News that these complications are much more common to Black women.

“Here is what we know: Black women are three to four times more likely to die because of child birthing complications up to one year post postpartum,” Langford said.

According to the CDC, the maternal mortality rate for Black women was 69.9 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2021, 2.6 times the mortality rate for white women. 

Mortality rates for Black women were not only significantly higher than rates for white women, but Hispanic women as well. 

And the rates continue to grow. “If you are educated, over 30 with at least a bachelor’s degree, that number doubles. It could be five to six times more likely,” Langford cautions.

So last February, Langford and her business partner opened Village of Healing on Lakeshore Boulevard in Euclid. The center provides medical healthcare for Black women and specializes in pregnancies, providing all the support that she says they don’t receive elsewhere.

“We are here, we are recruiting, we are retaining, we have the black providers, we are able to do things culturally sensitive all the way down to vocabulary. It’s as simple as that,” Langford added.

While babies are not delivered at Village of Healing, they work with MetroHealth Medical Center and Cleveland Clinic, with more than 600 women taking advantage of Village of Healing so far.   

And while Tori Bowie’s death was a shock, it’s certainly not a surprise to Langford.

“Tori is not the only one. She’s a famous name that it happened to. Black women are experiencing in this country at ridiculous rates.”

Village of Healing has been an absolute success since it opened. And that success is paying off. The center was recently given a $1 million grant to expand to other locations.

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