Healthcare In The US Sucks If You’re A Black Woman

I am mad as hell at the healthcare system. It should be called deathcare because it’s not healthcare when it worsens health.

There is nothing healthy about the US healthcare system and nothing caring about the people who work within it. I practiced medicine for years knowing there were gaps in care. However, the extent of cracks and the harm they do to patients I did not appreciate until I became a patient. The tales I tell would make anyone in the current healthcare system develop PTSD.

Healthcare is harming Black women. It’s been doing that for decades and longer. The maternal mortality rates for Black women are comparable to countries that don’t have money to spend on healthcare. That is no accident. Black women are targeted within the American healthcare system to receive harmful care. Black people, in general, are at high risk for medical errors. The healthcare power brokers know this and think it’s a public safety issue for Black patients, and that’s where the concern stops. Unfortunately, many Black patients don’t realize their doctors don’t give a shit about them.

It is rare for a doctor to do a complete physical; therefore, the physical exam yields little because it’s not done. Yeah, they put the stethoscope on your chest, but that is for billing and not for listening. If you’re a Black female, getting a diagnosis outside of mental illness or drug addiction is a challenge. The system does not recognize us or our conditions.

Since becoming a patient, I have seen dozens of doctors; only two stand out as competent and caring. Good doctors are out there. But they aren’t easy to find if you’re a Black woman. Why do you think that is the case?

The healthcare system would have killed me with misdiagnoses if I wasn’t a doctor. Can you imagine what it’s doing to patients, especially Black patients with little healthcare literacy? Medical errors are the third leading cause of death. I understand why you are more likely to die from medical errors than a gunshot wound, a motor vehicle accident, or an infection.

Here I am in Texas, and I can tell the state is not known for competent healthcare based on my experience so far. I had a similar experience in Massachusetts, where it was the mecca of healthcare for White people and deathcare for Black people. I will attempt to unpack some significant cracks, but I need your encouragement and feedback.

Author

  • Angela Grant is a medical doctor. For 22 years, she practiced emergency medicine and internal medicine. She studied for one year at Harvard T. H Chan School Of Public Health. She writes about culture, race, and health.

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