Serena Williams was walking through the hospital hall after giving birth and realized she had a hard time breathing (Vox). Crystle Galloway was found in her bathtub unresponsive six days after giving birth (Tampa Bay Times). Kira Johnson gave birth to her second son and not too long after, her husband noticed she was having trouble recovering (The Root). All women requested help through the medical department. Only one out of the three lived.
Galloway’s mother contacted the paramedics and supposedly, they were more concerned if Galloway could afford the cost of the ambulance truck rather than saving her life. She died July 9, 2018 from internal bleeding in her brain (Tampa Bay Times). Johnson’s husband asked the medical staff for a CT scan immediately after noticing bleeding from her catheter. A CT scan never happened, but instead an internal exam took place seven hours later. Johnson died that same day due to a hemorrhage (The Root). Williams story is similar, but when she requested a CT scan she was given one after being ignored about it several times. She considers herself lucky to have lived.
Black women are not being listened to in hospitals. The results of this are damaging to our health and sometimes even result in death. According to CDC, Black women are 3 times more likely to die than White women in childbirth. I can’t say I’m surprised considering that the stereotype for Black women is a lady that’s loud and overly dramatic, but I am annoyed. When will Black women be taken seriously as humans, mothers, daughters, wives, and sisters? Why does it take people losing their lives to know that society views use lower than any other social group? Why is it hard to believe that we aren’t indestructible? What will it take for us to be heard? Too much.
Considering there are people who will view this and think that it’s full of lies or is an over exaggeration of the real thing, I think it’s only right that Black women take matters into their own hands. It takes convincing that we matter or that we are telling the truth, so why rely on others to fix a problem that will continue to be repeated until they decide its important? We shouldn’t have to wait on others to fix our issues especially if it takes convincing them that our struggles are real.
In the book “Medical Care” a 2016 study shows that Black people are 22% less likely than White people to receive medication for complaints about pain (LIFE). The rates of Black women dying because they aren’t being heard in hospitals are only going to grow instead of decrease unless we start with ourselves. We should switch to Black doctors and not just OBGYN’s, but for everything. This not only helps you support your race, but gives you a better chance at actually being heard or understood. Not only that, but having more Black people pursue the career as a doctor could help as well. Only 6.5% of OBYGNs are Black compared to 77.2% that are White according to a 2017 life style report done by Medscape. This could help us overcome a lot of tragedies that happen in our community.
With that being written, Rest In Peace to all the mothers that lost their lives giving birth and if it was because your voice was silenced, I’m sorry that your life was not taken into consideration. 🖤