Behind the Mask: Health Care System Breakdown

I’ve been very open about my experience with my pregnancy loss. I had an ectopic pregnancy and suffered 4 weeks of severe pain, bleeding and very classic ectopic pregnancy symptoms, which were not diagnosed in a timely manner. I also have been open about my birthing scare, where I almost lost my last child. After the death of Kim Porter and Serena Williams’s own health scare I knew that there were more voices than just mine, that others had experienced lack of compassion or even outright mistreatment or misdiagnosis. We need to discuss how to revamp these systems openly. Testimonies can help others be brave with their stories. I asked both consumers and providers for their input. I thank all who shared their experiences.


Gender: Female

Region of the country: Bronx, New York

Occupation: Front Desk Associate



Please explain why you chose the hospital or practice you chose to receive care from?

We had been to (redacted) a few times. The one I went to was near (redacted) ave or something like that. It was usually the one that was quiet enough to get seen fast.

What were you receiving care for?

Appendicitis actually. This is the main one I wanted to share because it still very much aggravates me to this day and it’ll be a year since this happened in 6 days.

How did you feel when you first started receiving treatment? Examples did you feel respected?

I actually had to go back twice for the same issue. I expected fast service, quick diagnosis and be on my way. But I was actually in truly agonizing pain. It made me cry and curl into a ball. It was very hard to stand, move or walk. They were nice per usual but they didn’t do all that they could.


Explain a bit about what warning signs you first saw that your treatment might not be in your best interest?

That’s the sad part. There were no warning signs. They just tried to go with the easiest diagnosis as opposed to running all the tests.

What were some of the issues you experienced with your care? Examples: were you not believed about your symptoms? Was any follow up done in your care? Did you feel adequately supported in your diagnosis?

So here’s the deal. I went out for my Grandmother’s birthday and we were drinking. I went to the hospital once I got into so much pain I couldn’t move. I knew it wasn’t from drinking. It wasn’t a stomachache. It was legit pain. When I get there, I’m still very much in pain. I couldn’t walk to the bed. They had to give me a wheelchair. And basically the nurses and the doctor thought I was overreacting. My sister told me one of them rolled their eyes when I was basically screaming and crying. The doctor finally comes and he asks the pain on a scale of 1 to 10. Like dude, I am the only voice you hear in this quiet ass hospital with tears running down my face. Anywho Im trying to answer the questions best I can. I told him we were out drinking and the pain started very randomly. I thought it was a stomachache when it started dull. I tried going to the bathroom. Throwing up. Nothing worked and the pain got worse. So he said he needs to see exactly where the pain is and pressed on my stomach right over where my appendix is and I scream in pain. He says it’s probably just gastritis (it’s inflammation of the stomach lining). He writes a script after the nurses gave me some medicine to dull the pain. I went home and was able to sleep but I woke up in pain since the meds wore off and something told me to go back to the doctor. So of course we went to the same hospital but it was busy and understaffed. The female doctor asks me what’s going on and I tell everything from the day before and now. She asked if they ran any tests yesterday and I said no. She said it could be two things but only a test will confirm. I had to drink some terrible fluid, get some kind of x-ray thing done. I forgot what they said and she confirmed it was appendicitis. Literally every step of the way of me going to get this surgery. The ambulance had to take me to another hospital that had a surgeon. Laying in the hall (on a bed) to get taken to a room, being in the room right before they brought me into the surgery room, each medical person told me he shouldve ran the test to at least cross it out. Every time I told the story, the response was the same. The surgeon told me that it was good that I came in again because the inflammation was pretty bad. I don’t know why he chose not to give me that test but if I had just taken his word and stayed home believing his diagnosis, it could’ve been worse. All I could think about was a friend I used to know in middle school telling me how she lost an uncle to appendicitis because he ignored it, it burst and the infection lead to sepsis. Ever since I heard that story, IVE BEEN TERRIFIED OF GETTING APPENDICITIS. Then a different friend from Middle School got it and had the surgery but I remember being scared the first three days I didnt see him at school since he got it over one of those long holiday breaks. And anytime I felt a pain in that part of my stomach, I was scared hoping and praying it was something else. Then I guess my fears manifested itself and I got it. It could have been so much worse because one doctor chose not to run one test. Im very thankful that everything turned out fine but I was so close to one issue becoming so much more because DOCTOR skipped a test.

What would you have done differently?

I probably would’ve pushed them to take all the tests the first day I was there. I was in pain and wasn’t thinking clearly but I could’ve pushed them to do all they could or ask my mom to take me because she definitely would’ve made them do the tests.









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