We Matter Too

When it comes to mothers giving birth, it’s known to be one of the happiest moments of their lives, however that can also be the worst day in the life of a Black woman. The death rates of Black women, when compared to other races, is concerning with them having a higher chance of dying in hospitals due to some instances related to  healthcare professionals.

According to the Center for American Progress, “African American mothers are dying at 3-4 times the rate of non-Hispanic white mothers, and infants born to African American mothers are dying at twice the rate of infants born to non-Hispanic white mothers.”

One reason is because some doctors pay less attention to Black women who are in pain, neglect their pleas for help, or just do not give them the attention they need.

This was not an issue however for American professional tennis player, Serena Williams after giving birth to her daughter through an emergency C-section and experiencing complications due to her medical history of pulmonary embolisms. Several life threatening problems occurred after the birth, however, the doctors and nurses and their excellent care saved her life.

Serena said she was lucky to be able to receive such care but others are not as fortunate. She is just one of the many women that face pregnancy complications. There is an estimate that out of 50,000 women who have pregnancy complications, Black women are three to four times more likely to experience a pregnancy-related death than white women. 

I believe there is a rising problem with Black women in general and how they are treated in the hospital.

52-year-old Dr. Susan Moore lost her life due to COVID-19 after she shared on social media the mistreatment and lack of medical care she received. Dr. Moore was admitted to the IU Health North Hospital in Carmel, Indiana. With Moore well aware of her conditions and medical procedures, she repeatedly asked for medication, scans, and routine checks while being in the hospital. She emphasized that a white doctor in particular dismissed her from the hospital after she insisted she was still having issues and pain.

“I put forth and maintain, if I was white, I wouldn’t have to go through that,” Moore states in the video uploaded on December 4th. “This is how Black people get killed, when you send them home, and they don’t know how to fight for themselves.” 

According to her post, Dr. Moore was released from the hospital on December 7th, but was then hospitalized 12 hours later once her temperature went up and her blood pressure dropped. She stated that she was experiencing better care at a different hospital, Ascension St. Vincent in Carmel. Still, even at a better hospital, her conditions and complications began to worsen as she was put on a ventilator where she later died on December 20th. 

COVID-19 has immensely impacted the Black community as they have and still suffer from higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and asthma making them more vulnerable to the virus. African Americans are at a higher risk of death from the virus because of disadvantages resulting from systematic racism within sectors such as healthcare.

When we (Black women) go to hospitals, we always have to ask ourselves if we’re going to make it out of here ok. Was I assertive enough with my doctor and advocating for myself enough about my medical conditions and concerns? It’s their job as doctors and healthcare professionals to provide proper care to anyone regardless of race or gender. Hopefully we will see less instances of Black women experiencing such neglect and ultimately dying because of it. We matter too. 

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