Grandmother left to raise her 12 grandchildren after daughter died during childbirth

A Detroit grandmother has spoken out after revealing that she is now having to raise her 12 children after her daughter died from “complications” during childbirth.

Speaking to CNN, grandmother-of-12 Patricia Pouncey reveals that she has been left with nothing but a death certificate and “a lot of questions” following the death of her daughter, Nikita Washington, back in December.

Pouncey revealed that her 35-year-old daughter had died after being admitted to the Harper University Hospital in Detroit, where she was scheduled to welcome her 12th child via cesarean section.

However, one day later, Pouncey was informed that although the baby – a boy named Nathaniel – had survived, her daughter died shortly after.

The grandmother – who is raising Nathaniel, as well as Nikita’s 11 other children – is now speaking out after revealing that the grief from her daughter’s death has been amplified due to the fact that she has so much confusion over what caused it.

Pouncey told CNN: “I ask myself all the time, ‘What went wrong?'”

On the day Nikita went to the hospital, she was alone – due to the fact that Pouncey was looking after the other grandchildren and her husband is incarcerated.

She had informed the family that she was receiving treatment for high blood pressure, and was taken in for a C-section on the night of December 22, 2022.

After several hours with no updates from the hospital, Nikita’s sister, Daveia Knox, paid a visit to Harper University Hospital to meet her new nephew. She was then hit with heartbreaking news “out of the blue”.

Speaking to, Knox says: “They had to tube her, put her on a ventilator, and the next thing I know, the doctor said they had to do emergency surgery because she was bleeding from the inside… I said, ‘Do whatever you can to save her, she has 12 kids to live for. Please save my sister.”

Tragically, the next morning, the family was told that although Nathaniel was healthy, Nikita had to be treated for a loose stitch and excessive bleeding. Sadly, Nikita died while receiving treatment.

In a death certificate from the Wayne County Clerk, seen by CNN, the mom-of-12’s cause of death was listed as “postpartum hemorrhage” and “complications from multiple cesarean sections”.

Pouncey now says she regrets not accompanying her daughter to the hospital, and is questioning whether or not her daughter’s doctors did everything they could in order to save her.

“I have not received anything from them,” the grieving grandmother told CNN.Meanwhile, a spokesman for Detroit Medical Center, which CNN reports operates Harper University Hospital, said in a statement: “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family for the loss of their loved one. We cannot discuss specifics regarding the treatment of any individual due to patient privacy laws.”

Pouncey is also sharing her story during Black Maternal Health Week (April 11-17) – a week that is dedicated to raising awareness of the state of Black maternal health in the United States.

In fact, President Biden has stated that addressing Black maternal health is a top priority for the Biden-Harris Administration.

According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Black and American Indian and Alaska Native women have a maternal death rate that is 2.5-3 times higher than white women.

Pouncey is urging the loved ones of all pregnant women to speak up on behalf of expecting moms.

“I’m worried about every mother,” she tells CNN. “Don’t ever, ever make the mistake that I made, letting your child go [to the hospital] alone. We need to give more attention to what’s going on.”

In the meantime, Nikita’s sister has since raised a GoFundMe to help with the ongoing costs of raising her nieces and nephews. As of this writing, more than $80,000 has been raised.

Knox says that the family is now vowing to stick together. “Me and my mom and my sisters, we’re gonna make sure it happens,” she said. “When Kita was alive, we always helped her. The kids know they are gonna be good. We have no choice. No way they would be separated.”

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