LEXINGTON, S.C. (WIS) - Health officials said that the number of women who face severe health complications from giving birth has been increasing in the United States, with more than 50,000 women a year.
A Lexington woman is one of those women. She was left nearly brain dead after giving birth over a year ago.
Jodie Roberts’ family said she couldn’t stop smiling and laughing at a Fourth of July party just a few days before going to the Prisma hospital to give birth to her son, but when she left the hospital six months later, she couldn’t talk, walk, or move anymore.
“She didn’t deserve what happened. No woman deserves that to happen to them ever,” Michelle Stevenson, Roberts' aunt, said.
Jodie Roberts lives with her uncle, Burrell Kelly, and his family. Stevenson quit her job to care for Roberts around the clock.
“I get up in the morning, give her her thyroid medicine at six. Get the kids up for school. Eight o’clock, I give her her other medicine… her seizure medicine,” Stevenson said.
Her hospital bed sits in the center of the living room and her medicines and machines cover the living room and kitchen.
“Every day she sits here like this, it’s getting worse,” Burrell Kelly said.
Roberts’ family filed a notice of intent to sue against Prisma Health and the doctors involved in Roberts' delivery for negligence during her delivery.
“I tell her every day, you’re not giving up, I’m not giving up,” Burrell Kelly said.
Eric Bland, Roberts’ lawyer, said Roberts was in the high-risk pregnancy group and was diagnosed with preeclampsia early in her third trimester. Preeclampsia is a condition that occurs during pregnancy in which the blood pressure spikes. Bland said Roberts' blood pressure spiked to 200 over 150 hours after checking into the hospital.
“Within six hours of her being admitted and her blood pressure spiking over 200, the decision should have been made to have a c-section at that time,” Bland said.
“She said Monday when I talked to her, she wanted a c-section. Tuesday she asked twice,” Becky Kelly, Roberts' aunt, said.
Bland said, because of Roberts' pre-existing health conditions and the risks of a c-section, her doctors wanted a natural birth. On July 11, nearly two days after checking in, Roberts went into cardiac arrest and rushed into a c-section.
“She was without oxygen for 21 minutes,” Bland said.
Robert and her newborn baby were put into induced comas. Her newborn son recovered, but Roberts never did.
“You shouldn’t have to walk into a hospital joyous and you’re going to have a baby and come home, big happy family, and then you don’t even come home at all walking,” Becky Kelly said.
Prisma Health has 120 days to investigate the case and respond to the letter of intent to sue. After that, Bland said the family can file a lawsuit.
Burrell and Michelle Kelly said they hope this lawsuit will give them the ability to get the proper care for Roberts, including a respiratory therapist, to help her possibly talk again one day.
A Prisma Health Spokesperson said they take the care of each patient very seriously and strive to provide the best care possible. She added, based on patient privacy laws and pending litigation, Prisma is not able to provide any additional information on Roberts’ case.