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Woman’s Death After C-Section Highlights Surgical Risks

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Dr. Manny Alvarez

I recently read a heartbreaking story about a New York man, who now has to care for his newborn twins alone after his wife died following a cesarean section.

Michal Friedman died at a Manhattan hospital four hours after the birth of her twins, Reverie and Jackson, the New York Daily News reported.

Friedman’s husband, Jay Snyder, said his wife showed no signs of distress in the weeks following up to the c-section. Her surgery was originally scheduled for November 28, but because doctors found that Friedman’s blood pressure was elevated during a November 27 pre-op appointment, they re-scheduled it for that day.

After the surgery, Friedman hemorrhaged. Her husband watched as her condition steadily worsened, until doctors asked him to leave the room. At 9:30 p.m., he was informed that his wife died.

I think a lot of people who heard about the story were surprised to hear that it’s still possible to die during childbirth.

The truth is, while doctors perform thousands of C-sections every day, the surgery – like any other – comes with risks.

The most common reason women die during C-sections is bleeding. Bleeding can be fast and severe and by the time any medical protocol can be instituted, sometimes it’s just too late.

Other C-section complications include bladder injury, infection, bowel injuries and blood clots, which can sometimes result in pulmonary embolisms. A pulmonary embolism is a potentially fatal blockage of the main artery of the lung by a substance that has traveled from somewhere else in the body.

While deaths from C-sections – and childbirth in general – are not nearly as common today as in the past, I think it’s important that people remember there are real risks involved in giving birth, and no surgery is 100 percent safe.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Friedman’s husband and twins during this difficult time.

Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's Senior Managing Editor for Health News. Prior to this position, Alvarez was a FNC medical contributor. Click here more information on Dr. Manny's work with Hackensack University Medical Center.
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