Grieving father turns to advocacy in name of deceased fiancée

The father has since began advocating for better outcomes for Black mothers who are more than four times likely to die from childbirth complication than white mothers in New York.

Nadia Galindo

May 11, 2024, 2:10 AM

Updated 13 days ago

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A father in Bushwick will be visiting his fiancée's grave this Mother's Day to pay tribute.
It's been about six months since Christine Fields died following complications after giving birth at Woodhull Hospital last November.
Jose Perez, her fiancé, is now a full-time dad raising their now 6-month-old baby boy and 3-year-old daughter.
"I am doing the best I can to maintain positive through everything," he said.
Since Fields death, Perez said he was illegally evicted from their Long Island City apartment leaving him to take his newborn baby and daughter to live with his older sons in Bushwick.
He recently started a GoFund Me.
"Definitely a lot of sleepless nights in the beginning. Going through the grief, the baby being up a lot of sleepless nights," he said.
Perez has since began advocating for better outcomes for Black mothers who are more than four times likely to die from childbirth complication than white mothers in New York.
"I really hate to believe that we went to the hospital and they don’t care about us because of our skin color," he said.
Perez has filed a notice of claim for $41 million in damages against Woodhull Hospital which is run by New York Health + Hospitals.
News 12 reached out to a hospital spokesperson who said they cannot comment on the lawsuit but did release a statement:
"The current maternal mortality rates among women of color are unacceptable, and NYC Health + Hospitals is committed to addressing this disparity. NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull has revamped and enhanced its protocols across its obstetrics and anesthesiology departments, and recently hired two new clinical leaders in these areas. The hospital is also strengthening the role of nurses in the management of maternal health patients. Across our health system we are using innovative interventions that we believe will address the disparities and race-based health care gaps that historically and disproportionably affect the diverse population of patients we proudly serve."
A hospital spokesperson said Woodhull Hospital has hired a new chief medical officer a year ago and has also hired new leadership in two maternal health-related positions that include chief of OB/GYN and a vice chief of Anesthesia.
Additional training is also being required for staff in areas that are critical for the care of obstetrical patients.
Perez said the changes didn't come soon enough to save Fields' life.
"Me and Christine was really looking forward to a future," he said with tears in his eyes. "We were looking forward to being married, we were looking forward to life with more than what we had. And its hard to be without her."
Perez said he is advocating for the Grieving Families Act that would expand who can seek compensation for a wrongful death and extend the time period.


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