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Series Part 2: Being your own advocate during medical visits

The news story began by stating that race and not socioeconomic status affects the care of women as it relates specifically to OBGYN services. The story continued by stating that poor white women receive better medical care than affluent African-American women.  I was blown away by this statement. I had been reading about the maternal mortality rate was higher among women of color in America during childbirth.  That was shocking enough. And even with the COVID-19 pandemic, race AND socioeconomics played a role in a disproportionate number of black and brown deaths than white deaths.  One theory the news story gave was that African-American women have notes in their medical records which states them as "difficult" and "loud."  

How do you get the care you need ? I've spoken to a number of my own patients who happen to be women of color and have found that you or someone close to you must advocate for your care, period ! The patients that I spoke with presented with symptoms that turned out to be life-threatening conditions. The one thing they all had in common was that they pressed the clinician to do more for them and emphasized to their providers that SOMETHING WAS SERIOUSLY WRONG with them! They kept saying this over and over and would not leave the facilities until their concerns were addressed.

Gone are the days of doctors performing what's necessary for the good of patients. Nowadays, physicians are stressed, over-worked and paid less than 10-20 years ago. With that knowledge, doctors attempt to see more patients to earn the same amount of money and have a tendency to downplay patient concerns. This makes less work for physicians and in return the patients often obtain substandard care. So, if you are having an issue that may even seem trivial, speak up and don't be silent. Make sure that your concerns are addressed and do not allow medical professionals to dismiss concerns you might have. It could save your life.



Anita Fulton

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