Washington teacher dies in childbirth - husband now suing hospital


When Jane Chang arrived at Highline Medical Center in Burien, Washington, on Sept. 29, 2017, the healthy 28-year old woman was 41 weeks and three days pregnant.

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According to a civil complaint recently filed in King County Superior Court, Chang's "labor was induced" and "a cesarean delivery was discussed." 

The complaint alleges staff at Highline Medical Center noted Chang was a bleeding risk so "a hemorrhage cart was brought into the OR."

Chang's child was eventually delivered via C-section. As her husband, Matthew Chang was in the hospital's waiting area telling family members about their healthy baby boy, his wife was bleeding to death, according to Chang's lawyer."

"As he was coming back to her room, over the loudspeaker he heard the room number that his wife was in and he heard the code blue," Amanda Searle of Connelly Law Offices, PLLC said

In that moment, Matthew Chang learned "something was wrong."

According to Chang v. Franciscan Health System and Highline Medical Center, multiple doctors ordered multiple blood transfusions; a device meant to stop the bleeding was inserted into Jane Chang's uterus but "became dislodged."

"Jane Chang became severely under transfused and died hours after giving birth to her son," the complaint alleges.

Matthew Chang is suing for negligence, hoping to learn why his wife bled to death. "It's very worrying," his attorney said. "You're in a hospital setting, you're supposed to be receiving the best care."

"You come in and expect this to be the best day of your life where you're meeting your child and unfortunately, Jane got to meet her son for a very brief moment and that moment was taken away from her," Searle said from her office in Tacoma.

Cary Evans, vice president of Communications and Government Affairs for CHI Franciscan, issued a statement on behalf of Highline Medical Center calling Chang's death "terribly tragic, and our hearts and prayers continue for her loved ones."

According to Evans, Highline's "care team included multiple physicians and staff who acted quickly and appropriately to try to save her life."

Sadly, Chang's death was one of hundreds of maternal mortality deaths annually, across the nation.

The rate of women dying during pregnancy, childbirth or during the six-weeks after giving birth has more than doubled in the United States since the 1990s -- from 7.2 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1987 to 18 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2014.

In Washington state the rate is lower -- about nine deaths per 100,000 live births -- according to Lacy Fehrenbach, assistant secretary for Prevention and Community Health for the Washington State Department of Health. "We're doing better, although of our pregnancy-related deaths, half were preventable, so we feel like we have work to do," she said.

To help lower the maternal mortality rate in our state, the Washington State Department of Health is now reviewing all factors that lead to a new mother's death, in the hopes of pinpointing the most common reasons and preventing such heartbreaking tragedies in the future. Click here for more information on the Department of Health Maternity Review Panel. 

Fehrenbach said the dozens of people working on the state's review panel give "days of their time and expertise to find out why these women died, and made recommendations so that fewer of them, ideally none of them, die in the future."

Click here for information and resources on pregnancy from the Department of Health. 

Click here for information and resources on pregnancy from the Department of Health (Spanish). 

Click here for resources from March on Dimes on maternal and pregnancy-related deaths. 

Click here for more information on new mom check-ups from ParentHelp123

Here is the full statement from CHI Franciscan:

“The death of Jane Chang is terribly tragic, and our hearts and prayers continue for her loved ones. Our care team included multiple physicians and staff who acted quickly and appropriately to try to save her life. We kept in close touch with her family to offer support during such a challenging time.” 

-Cary Evans, vice president, Communications and Government Affairs, CHI Franciscan.


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