Haley Richardson Alabama nurse pregnant with second child dies of COVID-19 after refusing vaccination leading up to child birth. Woman’s unborn child also dies.
Haley Mulkey Richardson, 32, was a labor and delivery nurse at a hospital in nearby Pensacola, Florida. She and her husband, Jordan Richardson, lived in Theodore along with their 2-year-old daughter Katie, and were awaiting the arrival of their second child, a girl.
It was while Haley was six months pregnant in late July that Haley contracted COVID-19 after initially believing herself to have gotten a sinus infection.
Haley had put off getting vaccinated against COVID-19 out of concerns about her pregnancy, after previously experiencing anaphylactic reactions.
‘We were just worried that there may be complications from that standpoint with having a baby and once she was pregnant, so she was not vaccinated. I think she would have advocated for it though, knowing this would be the outcome,’ Jordan told WKRG News 5.
Should pregnant women get COVID-19 vaccine?
The Centers for Disease Control and OB-GYN groups strongly advise people who are pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to conceive to get vaccinated against COVID-19, as studies have confirmed that the vaccines are safe and effective for those groups.
Anyone who is expecting a baby is urged to get a shot, as data show the benefits of being vaccinated is greater than the possible risks.
Haley, who had no preexisting conditions, continued to degenerate health wise as she now experienced fatigue, loss of smell and taste. Rather than rushing to the hospital, Haley who didn’t want to over-run and burden the hospital, decided to self-isolate at home.
‘She knew how overrun the hospitals were and she didn’t want to put a burden on anybody else,’ Jordan Richardson told ABC News.
‘She was home sick for about a week and then her heart rate went up,’ Jason Whatley, a family friend whose wife was Haley’s maid of honor, told AL.com. ‘I guess that’s something they look for.’
Haley was admitted to the hospital in early August at nearly seven months pregnant, and ‘after about three or four days in the hospital, the [obstetrician] told her that she was going to lose the baby,’ Whatley said. ‘And she continued to get worse and worse.’
‘At some point, they basically told her that we’ve got to start treating you as if you didn’t have a child,’ he continued. ‘We’ve got to do what we can for you because the baby is going to pass anyway.’
In Richardson’s last public Facebook post, she thanked people for their support while acknowledging the hardships ahead.
‘Jordan, and I are so overwhelmed not only with what we face in the coming days, but also by this unbelievable outpouring of love and and support from family and friends both personal and from our work families,’ she wrote on Aug. 9. ‘You all are lifting us up in ways you can never fathom.’
On Aug. 18, the baby, whom they named Ryleigh Beth, died. Haley continued to worsen, and was put on a ventilator four days before her death on Aug. 20.
Researchers have found that COVID-19 significantly increases the risk of pregnancy complications such as premature and stillborn births and miscarriages.
Whatley said the family and doctors did everything they could to help Haley.
‘They wished she’d been vaccinated, but outside of that, when she got sick, they did all the right things. And she still died,’ Whatley said. He and his wife have set up a GoFundMe page to help support the Richardsons.
Record number of pregnant women hospitalized
At a nearby hospital, UAB in Birmingham, doctors said they’re seeing a record number of pregnant women hospitalized for COVID-19, all unvaccinated. In August, the hospital admitted 39 unvaccinated pregnant women, 10 of whom are in the ICU and seven are on ventilators. Two women have died, and many are delivering their babies prematurely.
Haley’s mom, Julie Mulkey, said that her daughter had gone back and forth on whether she should get vaccinated.
‘We talked about it several times,’ Mulkey said. ‘She said at one point that she had about made up her mind to do it. And she just… she just couldn’t quite get it done. If she had had the information that has come out since this happened to her, yes, she would have gotten it.’
Added the mother, ‘It’s hard to accept, it’s hard to face. We’re glad she’s not suffering anymore.’
Alabama has one of the lowest Covid vaccination rates in the US, with just over 36 per cent of the population fully vaccinated. The state is grappling with an average of more than 4,000 new cases a day, according to Johns Hopkins University.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about three out of four pregnant people in the USA have not yet received a Covid-19 vaccine.