Black Women are Dying! Lets Talk About It.

When the greatest female athlete of all time, Serena Williams, gave birth to her daughter Olympia last year things took a plunge, fast. Despite being a strong and athletic woman, Williams, 37, has a history of blood clots. Williams, who is knowledgeable about her health history told a nurse that she needed an IV heparin, blood thinner, and a CT scan to check for clots since she was having trouble breathing. At first the nurse and doctor dismissed Williams, but Williams kept insisting that they perform her requests and it was then the medical team discovered small blot clots in Williams lungs. If it wasn’t for her persistence, I don’t think Serena Williams would be alive today.

Now if one of the most famous black female athletes couldn’t get the medical treatment she deserved, imagine the countless other Black women who suffer and die because their requests weren’t met. Based on an article from the Huffington Post, about 44 deaths out of 100,000 occur for black women due to complications of childbirth compared to their white counterparts where it’s about 13 out of 100,000.

What was supposed to be another miracle for the Johnson family turned into a tragic nightmare. In 2016, Kira Johnson who was expecting to deliver her second child, another son, died due to a hemorrhage. Kira’s husband, Charles Johnson noticed blood in Kira’s catheter and tried to get the doctor’s attention so that they could fix the issue. What was supposed to be treated immediately took several hours. By the time doctors tried to do something it was too late.

“We walked in for what we expected to be the happiest day of our life. And we walked straight into a nightmare”, Charles said. He goes on by saying, “I sit awake at nights thinking maybe I should have grabbed somebody by the collar, maybe I should’ve turned a table over, would that have made a difference?" It’s been two years since the tragic event and Charles Johnson raises their two sons.

This isn’t a recent issue either. This injustice has been happening for decades and continues to grow. Even diverse NYC, black mothers are 12 times more likely to die than white mothers. In 2016, an analysis published five years of data and found that black, college educated mothers in local hospitals were more likely to face complications than white women who aren’t high school graduates. There is clearly a racial disparity in hospitals toward black women.

As a community we need to bring more awareness to this issue. As a black woman myself, I worry about how this issue might affect me and my fellow black women friends who want to start a family. For more information about the issue check out the links below.

As Malcom X said, “The most neglected woman in America is the black woman. The most unprotected woman in America is the black woman."