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Husband of former Kansas City Chiefs cheerleader who died after stillbirth speaks out on prenatal care concerns

“It can’t be a one-size-fits-all,” Clayton Anderson said about prenatal care weeks after his wife died following giving birth to her second stillborn baby.
/ Source: TODAY

After former Kansas City Chiefs cheerleader Krystal "Krissy" Anderson died following the stillbirth of her daughter, her husband, Clayton Anderson is speaking out.

Krystal “Krissy” Anderson died at the age of 40 on March 20, "shortly after the birth of her daughter, Charlotte Willow Anderson, who was born at rest,” according to her obituary.

In an interview with ABC News, Clayton Anderson told the outlet that his wife died of cardiac arrest caused by sepsis. She had previously suffered a stillbirth in November 2022 — a son named James — and a miscarriage scare in December 2023, he told the outlet.

“One of the issues that I guess I have with the system overall is Krystal is 40, and she’s Black, and we’d had a loss before, but even then they say you know, you can’t start a plan with maternal fetal medicine or the high-risk maternity doctors until you get to week 14,” he said.

“Expecting somebody who’s had a loss to go four weeks in between seeing their care providers … that’s the same protocol that’s done for a 23-year-old that’s very healthy,” he said. “It can’t be a one-size-fits-all.”

Former Kansas City Chiefs cheerleader Krystal Anderson.
Former Kansas City Chiefs cheerleader Krystal Anderson.Krystal Anderson/Instagram

He outlined how, in the 16th week of her pregnancy, Krystal Anderson had a cerclage procedure, which is when doctors temporarily sew the cervix closed with stitches to help the cervix hold a pregnancy in the uterus. 

Clayton Anderson said they believed they were getting the best possible preventative action and didn't have another doctor's appointment until week 20. At that appointment, Krystal Anderson was put on semi-bed rest for two weeks. Then, on March 16, the couple rushed to the hospital after she started feeling back pains, which her doctor told them could be signs of labor.

Clayton Anderson said that doctors couldn't find a heartbeat in the fetus by 9 p.m. on Saturday. Several hours later, he said, Krystal Anderson developed signs of severe sepsis.

“‘We have to get Charlotte out of there,’” Clayton said doctors had told them about their baby. “‘Because you’re not trending very well, and now it’s about saving you, mama.”

After multiple surgeries, Krystal Anderson's health deteriorated and she died on March 20 of cardiac arrest caused by sepsis, her husband confirmed.

Sepsis is when the body responds improperly to an infection, causing the organs to work poorly, according to Mayo Clinic. Sepsis may progress to septic shock, with blood pressure dropping and damaging never organs that can lead to death.

“She was my world … my best friend and obviously the love of my life and mother to our children,” Clayton Anderson told the outlet.

In a statement to TODAY.com, AdventHealth Shawnee Mission, the hospital that treated Krystal Anderson, said they could not comment on the specific details of her case due to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, but sent the following statement:

“Our hearts are hurting in this tragic situation. We along with the independent providers who deliver care in our facilities strive to provide the best possible care to every patient based on their specific needs and circumstances. We extend our prayers and support to family members and loved ones experiencing the devastating loss of precious life.”

In the United States, Black maternal mortality rates have long been high. Black women are nearly three times more likely to die during childbirth than white women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In addition to racial stereotypes and systemic racism playing a role in the care provided to Black patients, recent studies have shown minority women may be more at risk for sepsis, specifically.

According to a 2018 article published in the medical journal Healthcare, "Black and Hispanic populations are frequently associated with higher rates of morbidity and mortality in sepsis compared to the white population."

Ironically, Krystal Anderson was also a software engineer, according to her obituary, who made “significant contributions to improving healthcare, including being awarded a patent for developing software that assesses the risk of postpartum hemorrhage.”

She danced in more than 100 games for the Chiefs, according to a post from the team, and was "loved and adored by her teammates, fans and strangers."

"We will miss her kind spirit, joyful energy, and her sparkle. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family and loved ones," @chiefscheer wrote in a post. "We will cherish every moment we had with her. At a later date, we will share how we will continue to honor her legacy ❤️💛"