The fully pregnant and obese woman arrived at the hospital with mild contractions. Having had at least one previous cesarean section, she delivered her newest baby surgically and without incident. On day three and four, a foul smell was detected at her wound, which was cleaned, and she was discharged.
Then, on day 10, the inexplicable occurred. The woman, who appeared fine in a clinic visit two days earlier, was found dead at home. The cause: “sepsis related to wound infection and an enlarged heart,” according to an autopsy.
To Assemblywoman Amy Paulin, a Democrat from Scarsdale in Westchester County who is concerned with rising cesarean rates, the anecdote makes a point. “It was clear that the C-section resulted in the death directly,” she said.
The woman’s story is one of three outlined cryptically in a report on 33 maternal deaths that was sponsored by the state Health Department and researched by the New York chapter of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.