A few weeks ago we lost Kim Porter, mother of four, model, and actress. This was a loss that especially hit home for a lot of Black women. Simply because she was such a sweet woman that reminded us all of our favorite auntie. While details of her death are still to be determined, one thing quickly released to the public was reports of her contacting her doctors advising that she wasn’t feeling well. I couldn’t help but flash back to the viral video of the doctor stating that doctors do not believe Black women when we voice our concerns. It becomes even more eerie considering Beyoncé and Serena Williams also discussed how they almost died while giving birth. In Serena’s case, she had to fight and force the hospital to run tests because her medical team wasn’t listening to her. More and more stories like these have come to the forefront of discussion in the last few years. What’s the deal?
It’s frightening that we’re losing our spouses, mothers, sisters, and daughters simply because the people we have entrusted with our well-being are refusing to listen to our concerns. It’s even worse for a plus size woman. Specifically, because any health questions automatically revert to weight being the cause. Even before any tests are run. It’s like we’re living in the dark ages! Who do we turn to that will actually listen? Must we shell out thousands of dollars to get a second, third and sometimes even a fourth opinion?! Access to proper healthcare is already limited for people of color, especially in lower income areas. Unfortunately, both poor and rich women are unnecessarily dying at the hands of doctors.
My solution has been to go out of my way to choose a female practitioner. Bonus points if it’s a Black female. Also, if a doctor has too many patients waiting, I take that as a red flag. Do not waste time (or money) with doctors that aren’t giving constructive diagnoses. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. It could literally be the difference between life and death. It’s also a great thing to see so many women of color entering Congress. They are now forcing the conversations about women’s healthcare that were largely ignored for decades. We are also seeing the emergence of women entering the medical industry. Eventually, there will be a point where we won’t have to take all of these extra precautions in order to receive adequate healthcare. Until that day comes, we all have to ensure we are looking out for our loved ones.