Woman, 20, diagnosed with COVID-19 dies days after giving birth

A 20-year-old COVID-19 positive woman died at Princess Margaret Hospital just six days after giving birth to a baby boy, her mother said yesterday.

Karen Dean said her daughter, Shekinah Dean, tested positive while at the hospital, but she does not know where she contracted the coronavirus.

“I wasn’t really concerned about it [COVID-19],” said Dean, referring to the period prior to her daughter being admitted.

“She was vomiting. She brought up blood. I just thought that because she was due she was experiencing those symptoms. I thought she was going into labor. That’s what I thought.”

Two days after her daughter was admitted, she told her mother that she was transferred to another ward where she was told she had tested positive for COVID-19.

She had not yet given birth.

“Before they gave her the results they moved her to another ward,” the mother said.

“She said, ‘Everyone was wearing PPEs.’ I prepped her before she went in there. I told her, ‘don’t panic because you [are] already in the hospital. If you were positive, you are already being treated’. I didn’t want her to panic because of the stigma of the virus.’ “

After receiving her daughter’s the test result, Dean said, she had to keep her composure because she did not want the news to make Shekinah’s situation worse than it already was.

“I figured they would say that (she was positive),” the mother said.

“I remained calm. I did not want her to get worked up. I told her if her pressure went up, things could get worse. At this point, she had an infection in her lungs and she was using an oxygen tank.”

Given the health conditions of her daughter, she was also worried about her unborn grandson.

“I was hoping that the baby would be fine,” she said.

“I even Googled it. They said it was rare for the baby to contract the virus during birth. I was just praying. I called my mom to pray.”

According to Karen Dean, her daughter gave birth to a healthy baby boy, but her fight with COVID-19 continued.

The mother said her daughter was under “heavy” medication and described as “moderately ill” by doctors.

“They were treating her with steroids, antibiotics, and oxygen,” Dean told The Nassau Guardian.

“They said in the event the treatment they had her on did not work, they were going to put a tube down her throat. They said they would have to put her in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). They said that would be the next step if the treatment didn’t work for her.”

Although the situation presented harsh circumstances, Dean, who communicated with her daughter over the phone, saw improvements.

“They never put the tube down her throat,” she said.

“That meant the treatment they were giving her worked. They had her [lying] on her stomach at first, but she was [lying] on her back and sitting up. That means she progressed from how she was.”

Dean said although her daughter was making some progress, she was concerned about the care Shekinah was receiving at the hospital leading up to her death.

“The morning she passed away, I was on the phone with her. It was in the early hours of the morning,” Dean said.

“She said, ‘Mommy I [am] cold. Someone died in here tonight. I tried to call one of the nurses. They ain’t checking for me. I want them to turn the air condition down.”

Dean said her daughter seemed to be uncomfortable, but claimed that no one was able to help her at the time.

“My daughter told me, ‘Mommy, God forbid something happens to me, K’yre (her newborn) is all yours,’” Dean said.

“I told her, ‘Shekinah, you have to speak life. You have to speak with hope. You need to pray. I will try to get you some help as soon as possible.’”

With no knowledge that her daughter was uttering her last words, Dean said she heard a change in her breathing over the phone.

“She told me, ‘Mommy, you have no idea how I feel,’” Dean said.

“This was in the middle of the morning. I didn’t [think anything of it]. I didn’t think she was saying her last words to me. I had no idea. At this point, I think her breathing was a little worse than it was the day before.’”

Dean said she was called to the hospital around 1p.m., but did not know why.

“I didn’t want to suspect something happened,” she said.

“I thought they were going to tell me they had to take the next step with putting a tube down a throat or to speak to her. I had no idea because I [had] just spoken to her that morning. I was calling her later that morning, but she didn’t answer and I was getting concerned about her getting worse.”

After being told her daughter died, Dean said she did not believe it.

“It’s impossible,” she said.

“It can’t be.”

Dean said she has questions surrounding her daughter’s care and the time leading up to Shekina’s death.

The distraught grandmother now has the baby in her care. 

The Public Hospitals Authority said the mother’s claims about her daughter’s care are under investigation.

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Italia Clarke

Italia Clarke joined the Nassau Guardian in August 2020. Clarke covers national, human interest and social issues. Education: University of The Bahamas, BA in Media Journalism

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