- An unvaccinated pregnant nurse and her unborn child died from COVID-19 in Alabama.
- “We’re glad she’s not suffering anymore,” her mother, Julie Mulkey, told Al.com.
- A study in JAMA Network Open found pregnant women with COVID-19 are over 15 times more likely to die.
A family in Alabama is mourning the death of an unvaccinated pregnant nurse and her unborn child after she contracted COVID-19.
According to Al.com, Haley Mulkey Richardson, 32, worked in the labor and delivery unit at Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola.
Family friend Jason Whatley told Al.com that she tested positive for COVID-19 about three weeks before her death on Friday. “She was home sick for about a week and then her heart rate went up,” he said.
Haley was seven months pregnant and had no preexisting conditions when she was admitted to the hospital on August 8, according to the publication.
“After about three or four days in the hospital, the [obstetrician] told her that she was going to lose the baby,” Whatley told Al.com. “And she continued to get worse and worse.”
Haley resided in Theodore, Alabama with her husband Jordan Richardson and their daughter Katie, who turns three years old this week, the publication reported.
Jordan told Good Morning America his wife knew how “overrun” hospitals were and said she did not want to be a “burden.”
He told the news outlet that their baby, Ryleigh Beth, died on August 18, despite Haley experiencing no prior pregnancy complications. Two days later, Haley died.
Jordan said his wife chose not to get vaccinated when they found out they were expecting and was going to wait until after the baby was born.”We weren’t worried about it for us, but just didn’t want to have complications with the baby,” he said, adding that he also tested positive for COVID-19 but only experienced mild symptoms.
Experts are urging pregnant people to get vaccinated
Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged all pregnant women to get vaccinated, with CDC Director Rochelle Walensky issuing a statement on August 11 that confirmed it is “safe and effective” to do so.
A study published in JAMA Network Open in early August found that COVID-19 drastically increases the risks of death and pre-term births. The study observed 869 ,079 women who gave birth at nearly 500 US medical centers between March 1, 2020, and February 28, 2021.
It found that the women with COVID-19 were more than 14 times as likely to need intubation or mechanical ventilation, and more than 15 times as likely to die. They were also approximately 40% more likely to deliver prematurely.
Haley’s mother, Julie Mulkey, told Al.com “it’s really hard” to grieve her daughter and unborn grandchild. “It’s hard to accept, it’s hard to face. We’re glad she’s not suffering anymore,” she said.
In a final post shared to her Facebook page, Haley wrote: “Here in the dark, in the wee hours of the morning, it is so easy to pretend that all of this was just a nightmare or that I’m just here in this hospital bed due to my own issues with COVID.”
“Not for anything being wrong with my sweet baby girl whom I thought I was protecting in my own womb. I know the prognosis and I know the reality,” she added.
Haley’s family and friends are now speaking out in order to urge more people to get the vaccine, according to Good Morning America.
“It’s a bittersweet thing to come out of this but [Haley would want] for pregnant women to be aware of how at-risk they are for this and to take any and all precautions, including being vaccinated,” Whatley told the publication.
Representatives for Ascension did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.