Dr. Chaniece Wallace (1990-2020)

October 30, 2020
Lindsey Carr
Lindsey Carr

Associate Editor for Contemporary OB/GYN

The devastating loss of 30-year-old Chaniece B. Wallace, MD, highlights the glaring racial disparities in maternal mortality and morbidity in the U.S.

Chaniece B. Wallace, MD, expectant mother and Pediatric Chief Resident at Indiana University School of Medicine, passed away on October 24 after giving birth to baby Charlotte via emergency cesarean section.1

During its 2020 Virtual Conference, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists honored Dr. Wallace with a moment of silence on Oct. 30. The moment of silence was taken at the end of the presentation, “Disparities in Maternal Mortality/Morbidity,” delivered by Elizabeth A. Howell, MD, MPP.

Wallace’s pregnancy was going smoothly until a routine doctor’s appointment in her third trimester, during which she was diagnosed with preeclampsia.2 She also shared concerns about developing pains in her abdominal area.

Related: Overcoming racism and unconscious bias in ob/gyn

“My wife kept letting them know 'I am having severe pains in my abdomen' and she was pointing to the area where her liver is located,” said husband Anthony Wallace.2 The doctors rushed her in for an emergency cesarean, but further complications arose after baby Charlotte arrived prematurely.

From October 20 to October 22, Wallace underwent multiple operations to address developing conditions; her kidneys were low-functioning and her liver had ruptured.3

The loss highlights the glaring racial disparities in maternal mortality and morbidity for Black women in the U.S. The pregnancy-related mortality rate for Black women is 5.2 times higher than for white women, and the rates of maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity are 3 to 4 times higher in Black women than in white women.4

A GoFundMe has been created to help support the Wallace family during this difficult time.

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References

  1. Frellick M. Black Chief Resident Dies After Childbirth, Highlights Tragic Trend. Medscape. October 28, 2020. Accessed October 30, 2020. www.medscape.com/viewarticle/939954
  2. Washington T. Death of young mother brings attention to racial differences in maternal mortality. WRTV Indianapolis. October 28, 2020. Accessed October 30, 2020. www.wrtv.com/news/working-for-you/death-of-young-mother-brings-attention-to-racial-differences-in-maternal-mortality
  3. Charlotte Wallace. GoFundMe. October 26, 2020.Accessed October 30, 2020. www.gofundme.com/f/charlotte-wallace
  4. Racial and Ethnic Disparities Continue in Pregnancy-Related Deaths. Press release. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. September 5, 2019. Accessed October 30, 2020. www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2019/p0905-racial-ethnic-disparities-pregnancy-deaths.html