Grandfather Warned Hospital He Feared for Newborn Baby’s Life Days Before She Died

 Grandfather Warned Hospital He Feared for Newborn Baby’s Life Days Before She Died

Hilary Johnson/GoFundMe

The tragically brief life of I’ijayah Johnson, which lasted only nine days, has left her family grappling with immense grief and raising serious concerns about child safety and parental fitness.

I’ijayah was born on April 25 at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital in Norfolk, Virginia. From the outset, her grandfather, Hilary Johnson Sr., harbored grave concerns about the capability of her parents to provide a safe environment.

He claims that he voiced these concerns to the hospital staff, fearing for the newborn’s safety if she were to be sent home with her parents. Despite these warnings, which he insists were echoed by his own father, the hospital discharged the baby.

Tragically, just nine days after her birth, I’ijayah was rushed unresponsive to the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters, showing signs of abuse. She did not survive. Following this heartbreaking incident, her parents, 23-year-old Hilary Johnson II, and 21-year-old Z’ibreyea Parker, were charged with second-degree murder and were arraigned in court.

The backdrop to this devastating event is fraught with additional challenges. According to Hilary Johnson Sr., at the time of I’ijayah’s birth, the young parents were homeless and battling mental health issues. He described a drastic change from the days when both parents were bright, promising young individuals. He had hoped that becoming a mother would spark a transformation in Parker, instilling a desire to provide a better life for her child.

Further complicating the tragedy, Hilary Johnson Sr. mentioned that despite being offered accommodation upon the baby’s discharge, the parents chose to decline, opting instead to live in a tent. This decision underscores the complexities and the dire circumstances under which I’ijayah’s short life unfolded.

The hospital, Sentara Norfolk General, has not commented on the allegations made by Hilary Johnson Sr. Local news outlets, including WAVY, have reached out to the hospital to inquire about its policies on infant safety and the protocols for assessing parental fitness but have yet to receive a response.

In the wake of this tragedy, Hilary Johnson Sr. has initiated a GoFundMe campaign to cover the funeral costs for I’ijayah, seeking community support to properly mourn the grandchild he had hoped to protect. This situation raises critical questions about the measures in place to ensure the safety of children and the support systems available for parents struggling with homelessness and mental health issues.

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