Even Amid A Pandemic, Some Hospitals Still Aren’t Listening To Black Women And It’s Proven Fatal
Black women continue to be shunned as they're forced to advocate for their own health.
March 27, 2020 at 3:12 pm
As the coronavirus spreads, claiming the lives of people all over the world, Black women's pleas for help continue to be ignored by some hospitals.
A Georgia mother collapsed at her home and later died at a local hospital after mentioning feeling sick at the beginning of the month, Fox 5 reported. Rushia Johnson Stephens was sent home after initially going to the hospital but began to feel progressively worse in the following weeks.
According to Fox 5, the former music teacher was rushed to the hospital last Thursday and later died.
An autopsy revealed the 65-year-old had contracted the coronavirus despite her failed attempts at advocating for herself and going to the hospital.
In New York, a state that has nearly half of the reported coronavirus cases in the U.S., a social studies teacher was turned down multiple times for a test.
Rana Zoe Mungin, pictured below, was initially treated for asthma when she showed up at the hospital for the first time. During the same visit, she was given medication for a "bad" headache, PIX11 reports. Despite her symptoms, she was sent home without taking a test.
After struggling with shortness of breath, her sister, Mia, insisted that she return to the hospital via an ambulance. Paramedics insisted that Rana was experiencing a panic attack as she kept saying "I can't breathe."
Upon arriving at the hospital for the second time, her family was told that her lungs were "clear" and that they weren't going to test her for the virus because "we don't have enough tests."
She returned home, again, and was unable to make it up the stairs. Her sister said she "watched her all night" and by Friday, "she wasn't breathing."
Rana arrived at the hospital again for the third time and was put on a ventilator and was intubated, PIX11 reported.
Her family wasn't allowed to visit her after doctors began to service her and provide experimental treatment.
As of Tuesday, Rana remains in the hospital following a relapse after her health began to improve, according to PIX11.
Overseas, a 36-year-old British woman died after her husband contacted healthcare professionals for assistance but was denied service, as Blavity previously reported. After the mother of three began to suffer from a cough and high fever, Kayla Williams' husband, Fabian, reached out to emergency personnel.
After medical help arrived, Fabian was told that his wife was "not a priority," and they refused to take her to the hospital.
Despite paramedics citing Kayla as having symptoms of COVID-19, she was told to practice "self-care, use antipyretics, increase food/fluid" and isolate herself from her family.
The next day, Fabian found his wife dead.
When the medical team arrived, they wrapped her body up and told Fabian to stay home before leaving out without any additional guidance.
Although the coronavirus has been deemed deadly, with strict limitations being put in place across the nation, Black women continue to be silenced and ignored as they are forced to be their only source of advocacy.
Black women have most commonly had to fight to receive necessary, and in some instances emergency, medical attention during childbirth. In 2019, Black women were three to four times more likely to die from childbirth-related complications than white women.
Black women of all economic levels have been constantly ignored in the delivery room.
In 2017, a Black mother having a C-section performed on her died after her husband was told his wife was "not a priority," as Blavity previously reported. Kira Johnson's husband pleaded with hospital staff after she reportedly had 3 1/2 liters of blood in her abdomen.
Most notable of Black women to share their delivery horror stories is tennis legend Serena Williams. Williams revealed that after giving birth to her daughter, Alexis Olympia, during an emergency C-section, she experienced symptoms related to blood clots, which she has a medical history of.
After expressing her concerns, the nurses didn't listen, and Williams started to experience a "slew of health complications" in the days after.
Her wound from her C-section had opened up after "intense coughing," and doctors later found a blood clot in her abdomen after performing another surgery, she said in an opinion piece published by CNN.
While these are just a few cases of Black women fighting for their lives, there are many women who are left ignored when attempting to speak up for themselves and their health.