by Stacy M. Brown
According to an autopsy report, three-time Olympic medalist and world champion sprinter Tori Bowie tragically died due to complications during childbirth.
Bowie, 32, reportedly had a “well-developed fetus” and was eight months pregnant, according to the Florida Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office report.
NBC News reported that evidence indicated that she was undergoing labor at the time of her death.
The autopsy report determined that Bowie’s death was ruled natural, with toxicology results showing no signs of drugs or other substances in her system.
The examination highlighted possible complications that contributed to her death, including respiratory distress and eclampsia, a condition characterized by seizures, or a coma related to preeclampsia.
This high blood pressure disorder can occur during pregnancy.
The Mayo Clinic explained that eclampsia can manifest without any previously observed signs or symptoms of preeclampsia, making it difficult to predict and prevent.
Warning signs that may appear before seizures include severe headaches, vision problems, mental confusion, or altered behaviors.
However, in many cases, there are no symptoms or warning signs.
Eclampsia can occur before, during or after delivery.
Further, Bowie’s death continued to highlight the disparities in the maternal experience of Black women.
Black women in the United States continue to suffer from the highest maternal mortality rate in the country.
In 2021 alone, the maternal mortality rate for Black women stood at a staggering 69.9 deaths per 100,000 live births — nearly three times higher than the rate for white women.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has noted that this glaring disparity underscores the urgent need for targeted interventions and systemic changes to address the healthcare inequities faced by Black mothers.
Bowie’s tragic death came to light when authorities in Orange County, Florida, responded to a request for a well-being check on a woman in her 30s who had been missing for several days.
The Orange County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that there were no signs of foul play.
On May 3, Bowie’s management company and USA Track & Field announced her death, expressing deep sorrow and condolences to her family and friends.
Icon Management Inc., her management company, described her as a champion and a beacon of light.
Bowie gained recognition for her remarkable performance as the anchor leg in the 4×100-meter relay team, leading them to a gold medal in Brazil alongside Tianna Bartoletta, Allyson Felix, and English Gardner.
She also won the silver medal in the 100-meter event and the bronze medal in the 200-meter event during the 2016 Olympic Games.
Additionally, Bowie secured the gold medal in the 100-meter event at the 2017 World Athletics Championships in London.
Raised in Sand Hill, Mississippi, Bowie credited her success to her loved ones, particularly her grandmother.
She described herself as a small-town girl at heart, hailing from a place devoid of stoplights.
In linking Bowie’s tragic death to childbirth complications, Dr. Alison Cowan, a practicing OBGYN and head of medical affairs at Mirvie – a company developing prediction tools for life-threatening pregnancy complications – shed light on the importance of awareness and prevention.
In an email to the Black Press, Dr. Cowan emphasized the preventability of many pregnancy-related deaths in the United States, with cardiovascular causes being the leading contributors.
Among these causes are hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, cardiac and coronary conditions, and cardiomyopathy.
Dr. Cowan highlighted the significance of educating the public about the risks of preeclampsia, a high blood pressure disorder during pregnancy that can have severe consequences for both the mother and the infant.
She stressed the importance of recognizing and treating preeclampsia to prevent the development of eclampsia, which involves seizures.
Pregnant individuals should be aware of the signs and symptoms of preeclampsia and attend regular check-ups to monitor their condition.
Dr. Cowan said it is worth noting that many women who develop preeclampsia have no identifiable risk factors.
Like her fellow runner Allyson Felix, Bowie was an elite athlete affected by this condition.
Mirvie is actively working on developing predictive testing to identify those at the highest risk of preeclampsia, Dr. Cowan said.
The initiative aims to inform women of their risk and empower them to take necessary measures for a healthy pregnancy, ultimately reducing the occurrence of similar tragedies in the future.
Source: Published without changes from Washington Informer Newspaper