University of Chicago

Family Wants Answers After Mom Dies From COVID-19 Just Days After Giving Birth

Unique Clay, 31, tested positive for coronavirus just before giving birth in late April. She was found dead two days after being released from the hospital

Annette Clay

A Chicago family wants answers after a mother of three died of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus, just days after giving birth.

Unique Clay, 31, touched the lives of many, according those who knew and loved her. She was a devoted mother who just gave birth to her third child on April 30, and her family is in mourning after her sudden loss.

 “All I need is answers,” her mother Annette Clay said. “Why would they send my baby home to die with her kids?”

Clay tested positive for coronavirus just before giving birth in late April. She was sent home from the University of Chicago Medical Center on May 3, but two days later, her 11-year-old daughter found her unconscious in the bedroom.

“She called me back, and told me my daughter was dead,” Annette said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

An autopsy found Clay died of coronavirus-related infection and ruled her death natural, according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Clay was a letter carrier with the United States Postal Service. She is the first letter carrier in the Chicago area to pass away after contracting the disease. More than 30 letter carriers in the city have tested positive for COVID-19, the National Association of Letter Carriers said.

Now, instead of planning a birthday party for their daughter, who would have turned 32 in June, her father and mother are wondering what could have been.

“One month from today will be her birthday. No parent should be picking out caskets,” her father Alan Brown said.

Her family and friends held a balloon release to honor her memory on Saturday to honor her memory, and while a community mourns the loss of a young woman, her parents are wondering why officials at the hospital released their daughter, only for her to pass away two days later.

“Her baby won’t even know her mother,” Annette Clay said. “How could they do this?”

Officials at University of Chicago Medicine issued a statement Saturday, declining comment due to patient privacy laws.

“The University of Chicago Medicine community extends the deepest sympathy to the family,” the statement read.

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