Black women are often dismissed or ignored by medical care providers. Williams wasn’t an exception.
A new Vogue profile of Serena Williams sheds light not only on the health risks that can come with childbirth, but also how those factors — coupled with racial bias in the medical field — can have dangerous, even life-threatening results for black women.
In Vogue’s February cover story, Williams recalls dealing with serious complications shortly after the recent birth of her daughter, Alexis Olympia. Williams explains that the problems started the day after her daughter’s birth by Cesarean section, when Williams felt short of breath. Due to her history of pulmonary embolisms (Williams underwent emergency treatment for a life-threatening embolism in 2011), the tennis star quickly alerted a nurse about her symptoms.
But the response wasn’t what she expected. Vogue writer Rob Haskell explains:
She walked out of the hospital room so her mother wouldn’t worry and told the nearest nurse, between gasps, that she needed a CT scan with contrast and IV heparin (a blood thinner) right away. The nurse thought her pain medicine might be making her confused. But Serena insisted, and soon enough a doctor was performing an ultrasound of her legs. “I was like, a Doppler? I told you, I need a CT scan and a heparin drip,” she remembers telling the team. The ultrasound revealed nothing, so they sent her for the CT, and sure enough, several small blood clots had settled in her lungs. Minutes later she was on the drip. “I was like, listen to Dr. Williams!”
Williams adds that she continued to have problems after this scare. Williams coughed frequently due to the embolisms, and the coughs were forceful enough to cause her C-section wound to rupture. When she went in for surgery, doctors Read More Here