Everyday, millions of viewers tune in to watch The Verdict with Judge Hatchett.
While the television star has been gracing America’s airwaves for years as Judge Glenda Hatchett, keeper of the law, one conclusion was completely out of her hands.
And that was the tragic and unforeseen loss of her daughter-in-law last year.
April 12, 2016 was supposed to be a joyous occasion for Judge Hatchett, her son, Charles Johnson IV, and his wife, Kira Johnson. But it turned into tragedy after a normal procedure went terribly wrong.
Johnson, a healthy 39-year-old, walked into Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center for a scheduled C-section. The couple was excited to bring their second child into the world, and anticipated a smooth delivery. But Johnson suffered from a lacerated bladder during the C-section, and died a few hours after giving birth.
“This wasn’t supposed to happen,” Charles told PEOPLE. “We had an entire life to live together.”
Since the tragic incident, Johnson IV has had unconditional support from his family, especially his mom. Following the devastating loss of his wife, Johnson IV moved his two boys from Los Angeles to Atlanta, where Hatchett resides. The famous judicial member has been caring for her boys ever since.
“Saying I’m proud of him doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel,” said Hatchett. “What people have to understand is that as much as I love him and as much as our family and our extended village loves him, this is really a very difficult journey that he walks alone. I can never really even begin to fully understand the depth of his pain and his grief. He lost the love of his life — he lost his wife.”
In March, Johnson IV reportedly filed a medical malpractice lawsuit against the center, accusing its staff of not responding to his wife’s symptoms or bleeding in a timely manner. The hospital has not issued a formal response to the lawsuit, but in a statement sent to the mag, it did refer to Kira’s death as “a tragedy.”
It also stated that Johnson IV and Judge Hatchett were “demonstrating important leadership in raising awareness of preventable maternal deaths.”
“This will be the most important case I’ll ever be involved in,” Hatchett said.
Our condolences go out to Judge Hatchett and her family as they navigate this tough part in their journeys.