A mother pregnant with twins was rushed to a Staten Island hospital when she went into labor months before her due date, but neither she nor her babies survived, and her family is demanding answers.
Victoria Rexach, 30, was not yet six months pregnant when she went into premature labor in late August and was rushed to Richmond University Medical Center.
Doctors there proceeded with a natural childbirth despite the fact that Rexach had already had two cesarean sections when she delivered her other children, and her doctor, a high-risk specialist, wanted her to have another C-section with this birth, according to her family.
"She screamed, and then she was just holding my hand and then her eyes closed and I kept smacking her face, telling her, 'Don't fall asleep on me, don't fall asleep,'" said the babies' father, Tafari Brathwaite. "She looked at me and said 'OK' and then closed her eyes, and that was the last time I saw her."
The babies, two girls their parents named Chali and Chassidy, died two minutes after birth. Family members said Rexach lost a lot of blood and went into cardiac arrest.
"That's the first thing I asked, is why didn't they give her a C-section," said Rexach's grandmother Detrice Williams. "She was a good girl."
The family believes Rexach would be alive if doctors had performed a C-section. The medical examiner is investigating, but has not yet determined a cause of death.
"It's the most devastating thing that has ever happened to me and my family," said Brathwaite.
The hospital expressed its condolences to Rexach's family in a statement, saying: "The hospital and our staff who provided care to the patient worked diligently and heroically to save the life of this young woman, who had a very complex obstetrical history.
"Immediately upon presentation, all appropriate clinical interventions were undertaken to manage the care of both the mother and the non-viable fetuses," the statement continued.
The family said Rexach's two young children, ages 4 and 10, are still processing the devastating loss.
"My two little great-grands are now without their mother," said Williams in tears.
"I know they want her, they wanna ask for her, but they see so much pain and suffering, they walk away when they see us crying," said Robin Williams, Rexach's mother.