California family of mother who is brain dead after surgery calls for independent investigation

National News

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A 23-year-old woman is on life support with no brain activity after testing positive for COVID-19 and having an emergency Cesarean section.

Keona Hankston’s family questions whether the hospital followed protocols and is calling for an independent investigation into exactly what happened.

Hankston’s family could not be beside her hospital bed Monday, so instead, they were outside Sutter Medical Center joining in prayer. 

“There is no human out here who can help make this better but the Lord,” Hankston’s mother, Karina McDaniels, said.

Hankston’s 2-week-old daughter, Melody, has the virus and has been in the neonatal intensive care unit, according to the family. The family said she’s getting stronger every day.

“I can’t eat, I can’t sleep,” McDaniels said. “Every time I close my eyes, I see Keona screaming, telling me how wrong they were doing her. I’m just hurting because it’s not fair.”

McDaniels said her daughter started complaining of severe stomach pains on July 19 when she was six months pregnant.

They rushed her to the hospital and learned she had pre-eclampsia and COVID-19.  

Over the next few days, family members said Hankston underwent several procedures, with Melody being born July 24.

The family said they FaceTimed a few days later and thought she was getting better. Then she needed another procedure.

“They called and said they had to have a second surgery because they seen blood clots in her stomach,” McDaniels recalled. “She was so scared. She said, ‘Mommy, they’re not treating me right. Mommy, I’m scared, I’m scared.’”

McDaniels said that was the last time she spoke to her daughter. On July 30, she learned Hankston was brain dead.

In a statement, a Sutter Health spokesperson said, “Providing compassionate, safe patient care is our highest priority and the core of our mission. Our commitment to patient privacy, as well as legal requirements, prevent us from providing additional information.”

Said Hankston’s mother: “I was born a fighter and I’m going to stay a fighter. For Keona, I will fight until I die. I’m going to get some answers one way or another.”


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