Dr. Chaniece Wallace, an Indiana children’s doctor who loved ones say was on her way to making a huge impact on the world of pediatrics, died after she suffered postpartum complications.
Dr. Chaniece Wallace died on Oct. 22, just two days after she and her husband Anthony Wallace welcomed their first child, a daughter named Charlotte, according to a GoFundMe page set up by Anthony.
The new mom — who was a chief resident at Indiana University School of Medicine Pediatric Hospitalist with Indiana University Health Physicians — was supposed to give birth to Charlotte on Nov. 20, but Anthony said she developed preeclampsia a month earlier.
According to March of Dimes, preeclampsia is a serious blood pressure condition that often affects moms after the 20th week of pregnancy or after giving birth. Those with the condition may suffer kidney, liver and brain damage, as well as a stroke, blood clot problems and a seizure or coma, also known as eclampsia.
In Chaniece’s case, Anthony said she suffered a ruptured liver, high blood pressure and malfunctioning kidneys, which required her to undergo surgery.
Despite doctors’ efforts, the new mom died within two days from the severe condition, according to her husband.
“Chaniece fought with every piece of strength, courage, and faith she had available,” Anthony wrote on the GoFundMe. “Chaniece was such a warm soul, welcoming to almost everybody.”
“Not only loved by family and friends but [also] individuals she would encounter in the patient population,” he went on. “She had a special way of being empathetic with her patients and making each one of them feel special.”
While Anthony continues to grieve, he explained on the GoFundMe — which has raised over $138,000 so far — that he and Charlotte “rejoice in having one another and knowing that Chaniece is watching down on us from heaven.”
“Chaniece and I were very excited about welcoming our first child Charlotte into the world. We had discussed all of the many possibilities of her bright future and the limitless paths she could follow,” he wrote. “This road will not be an easy road for Charlotte and myself, but we are trusting in the name of the Lord!”
“We are grateful for any heartfelt contributions during this time,” he continued on behalf of his daughter, whom Anthony noted was “absolutely beautiful” and has been doing “exceptionally well” in the NICU.
Prior to her death, Chaniece was working at Riley Children’s Health Hospital in Indianapolis as a resident physician, according to her Facebook page.
Her husband said on the GoFundMe that she had recently completed her board exams and was in the process of “interviewing for multiple positions around the country.”
In a tribute on their Instagram page, IU Riley Peds Residency explained how they were certain Chaniece would make an impact wherever she chose to go.
“Chaniece had completed her categorical pediatrics residency in June and was beginning to explore future career options as a general outpatient pediatrician. Her future impact, sure to be expansive, was taken away from her all too suddenly,” they wrote alongside several photos of the “beloved” doctor.
Following Chaniece’s death, many people — notably from the medical field — took to social media to express their condolences, while also addressing the racial disparities that exist when it comes Black women and childbirth.
According to the Healthcare Cost Utilization Project (HCUP), the rate of suffering preeclampsia/eclampsia is 60 percent higher than for Black women than it is for white women.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that Black women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women.
“Dr. Chaniece Wallace. Say her name,” tweeted Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo. “All Black women, including health providers, who have dedicated their lives to keeping us alive. My head says don’t stop until Black women in medicine & academia are safe, protected & supported. But my heart hurts.”
“Racial disparities persist in maternal mortality. Healthcare systems continue to fail Black women,” added Nancy Rivera on Twitter.
“She had EVERYTHING to live for. She worked as a physician in a state that has one of the highest #maternalmortality rates in the country,” tweeted Dr. Linda Galloway. “We need to fix this, please.”
“As a black woman doctor, my heart mourns for the loss of Dr. Wallace,” Dr. Arabia Mollette wrote in a Facebook post. “I wish there was another outcome where she was here to raise her daughter, Charlotte. There needs to be a revolution in #Obstetrics. I cannot confirm if implicit bias played a role, but we need more doctors to help us fight against implicit bias in the medical system.”
“This disparity spans across income and education levels. We HAVE to keep advocating for Black birthing people. Our lives depend on it,” wrote Facebook user Ayana Jones on The National Association to Advance Black Birth (NAABB) group page.
Added user Jennie Dusheck: “A lost life, a motherless infant, a widower and a grandmother who must choose to abandon her work. All because American medicine can’t deliver equitable health care. Not even to its own.”
What a terribly tragic story. Those who would like to contribute to the Wallace Family’s GoFundMe can so do here.