Things That Matter

Black Woman Passes Away After Waiting Hours In Hospital ER To See Doctor

For most women educated on the treatment of women of color in the world of healthcare it’s not much of a surprise that Black women are deeply affected by implicit bias in the American healthcare system. Implicit bias is defined by PubMed as “a negative evaluation of a person on the basis of irrelevant characteristics such as race or gender” caused by “ associations outside conscious awareness”. In laymen terms, this means often times doctors may misdiagnose or under-diagnosed patients because of racist or sexist conclusions. Ones that they may not even be aware that they are making.

According to a report by USA Today, this might have been the case for  Tashonna Ward.

On January 2nd, Ward– a 25-year-old daycare teacher from Milwaukee–  died while attempting to seek medical attention. 

Ward had sought help from an emergency room at Froedtert Hospital after experiencing severe chest pains and trouble breathing. After reporting her symptoms the young African-American woman waited over two hours to see help. After hours and hours of waiting she left the hospital to seek quicker assistance elsewhere. According to USA she collapsed and ultimately died shortly after she left. No her family wants answers. 

“How can you triage someone with shortness of breath and chest pain and stick them in the lobby?” Ward’s cousin, Andrea Ward asked in an interview with USA Today. “Froedtert needs to change their policy.”

According to USA Today: “The Milwaukee County Medical Examiner’s Office has not determined the cause of death. Its report doesn’t say whether Ward was admitted or seen by a doctor at Froedtert before she left. Ward’s family says she was kept in the waiting room and was not under any monitoring when she decided to leave.”

Hospital staff  checked her heartbeat with an electrocardiogram and reportedly decided that things appeared normal.

After her first initial check-in she was asked to wait in the waiting room until she could be admitted. According to Ward’s family she posted on Facebook at 5:45 p.m. “I really hope I’m not in this emergency room all night.” Nearly two hours later at 7:35 p.m., Ward posted to her Facebook page an update stating that she had been told by ER staff that her wait to see a doctor could be anywhere from two to six hours.  “Idk what they can do about the emergency system at freodert (sic) but they damn sure need to do something. I been here since 4:30 something for shortness of breath, and chest pains for them to just say it’s a two to SIX hour wait to see a dr.”

A chest X-ray after her death revealed that Ward was suffering  from cardiomegaly. 

 According to USA Today, Ward had a history of cardiomegaly, or an enlarged heart. Last year in March, Ward experienced the death of a baby after the umbilical cord wrapped around the baby’s neck. According to a medical examiner’s report, Ward had been told at the time that she had developed an enlarged heart during her pregnancy. Cardiomegaly can be either short-term or permanent and can put a person at risk for cardiac arrest, and other severe heart complications. It is known as to whether or not Ward’s heart had remained enlarged  since her pregnancy.

A spokesperson from Froedtert hospital issued a statement expressing “sympathy” for the family. 

“The family is in our thoughts and has our deepest sympathy. We cannot comment further at this time,” the spokesperson said. 

Many experts blame doctors’ failure of black women on their implicit bias.

This problem of implicit bias among the medical community is exasperated by the lack of diversity among doctors, with only 5% being Latino (regardless of the fact that Latinos are the fastest growing ethnic group in the U.S.), and only 4% of doctors in the U.S. being black.

Linda Blount, president of the Black Women’s Health Imperative, is very matter-of-fact when describing the realities that implicit bias has at the doctor’s office: “We want to think that physicians just view us as a patient, and they’ll treat everyone the same, but they don’t,” she says. “Their bias absolutely makes its way into the exam room.”

Somewhat surprisingly, this bias transcends social and economic factors and has little to do with class. “When you look at inequalities in healthcare, you see a lot of studies tying the problems to race and poverty, but there’s not a lot about educated, insured black women who are not poor”, says Bette Parks Sacks, Assistant Professor of Social Welfare at UC BerkeleySacks. “Yet infant mortality rates for black women with a college degree are higher than those for white women with just a high school education.”

The under-diagnosis of PCOS in black women is just another example of the way the American healthcare system is letting down black women.

Because of the structural racism within the healthcare community, black women are often told that their very real symptoms are “all in their heads” or simply stress-related.

The most dangerous facet of this pattern is that once physicians decide that a patient’s symptoms are simply stress-related, they stop searching for another diagnosis. This leaves many Afro-Latinas struggling with their PCOS alone, believing that their long and intense periods, hair loss, weight gain, insulin resistance, and often, mood-related disorders, are simply a symptom of self-induced stress.

It’s time that women of color stop being told that all they need is an Advil and a yoga regimen to improve the sometimes debilitating symptoms of PCOS. What they need instead is doctors to get real to the internalized racism they may enacting, and start taking black women’s pain seriously.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

People Have Taken To The Streets Across The Country In Breonna Taylor Protests

Things That Matter

People Have Taken To The Streets Across The Country In Breonna Taylor Protests

@KRISTENCLARKEJD / TWITTER

Cities across the U.S. are seeing a new wave of unrest following the grand jury’s finding on the Breonna Taylor case. Emotions are high as people protest against the lack of charges against the officers who were involved in Taylor’s death.

Protesters are raising their voices after the decision not to charge all of the officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s death.

Breonna Taylor was shot and killed on March 13 when police raided her apartment. The 26-year-old ER technician was sleeping when the police executed a “no-knock” warrant. However, police had the wrong address and Taylor’s boyfriend, believe their lives were in danger, fired at the police. Taylor was shot and killed in her apartment that night.

Major cities across the country saw major demonstrations spurred by the anger against the justice system.

A grand jury found one officer responsible for wanton endangerment after firing his weapon into neighboring apartments. There were no charges tied directly to Taylor’s death. The lack of charges has angered activists and advocates who are seeking significant police reform to prevent tragedies like this from happening again.

People have become hyper-aware of the issue and are paying attention to the outcomes.

Protest signs in different crowds show that the American people are paying attention. The Black Lives Matter movement became the cause at the forefront of American mentality since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. Floyd’s death sparked national outrage and renewed energy into fighting to stop the disproportionate violence Black men, women, and children face at the hands of police.

Some motorists have turned violent against the protesters.

Video captured in both Denver and Los Angeles show vehicles driving through crowds of protesters. In Denver, the driver claims to have acted in self-defense after protesters surrounded his car. The driver claims that he did not intend to hurt anyone but reacted when protesters shattered his windshield.

In Louisville, police arrested the only Black woman in the Kentucky state legislature for protesting.

State Rep. Attica Scott was arrested for first-degree rioting, which is a class-D felony. The Louisville Metropolitan Police Department arrested 24 people Thursday night while protesting the decision not to charge the officers. Rep. Scott was arrested with other and charged with first-degree rioting and two misdemeanors for unlawful assembly and failure to disperse.

“Our call to action is to continue to make sure that the city of Louisville understands that we will not go away, that we will continue to demand the defunding of police and the dismantling of this police department because it’s corrupt from the inside out, from the bottom to the top,” Scott told NPR before the grand jury decision. “And it cannot continue to function in the way that it does.”

Taylor’s death has mobilized the nation with celebrities and politicians calling for justice.

The fight for racial justice and a systemic change to our justice and policing systems is ongoing. The people are tired of being scared and are taking a stand with their protests.

If you are out there protesting, send us your videos and photos so we can see your activism in action!

READ: Oprah Winfrey Honors Breonna Taylor With Historic O Magazine Cover

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

Twitter’s AIs Prefer Ted Cruz With Boobs And White Skin Over Black

Things That Matter

Twitter’s AIs Prefer Ted Cruz With Boobs And White Skin Over Black

Ever notice how on some social platforms like Twitter or Instagram that you yourself are mysteriously unable to crop your display images on your own? That’s because Twitter prefers to let their algorithms make the decision. Over the weekend users on Twitter discovered the surprising dangers of letting algorithms crop your own images.

Education tech researcher Colin Madland drew attention to the issue while speaking out about how the video-calling program Zoom, often crops the head out of his black person coworker while on calls.

It didn’t take long for Madland and other users to discover that Twitter’s AIs use discriminatory equations to prioritize certain faces as well. In short, the social platform’s AIs prefer white faces over Black ones.

In response to the discoveries, a Twitter spokesperson acknowledged that the company was looking into the issue “Our team did test for bias before shipping the model and did not find evidence of racial or gender bias in our testing. But it’s clear from these examples that we’ve got more analysis to do. We’re looking into this and will continue to share what we learn and what actions we take,” they stated.

Of course, Madland’s discovery is nothing new. In 2019, test results from the National Institute of Standards and Technology revealed that some of the strongest algorithms online were much more likely to confuse the faces of Black women than those of white women, or Black or white men. “The NIST test challenged algorithms to verify that two photos showed the same face, similar to how a border agent would check passports,” Wired points out. “At sensitivity settings where Idemia’s algorithms falsely matched different white women’s faces at a rate of one in 10,000, it falsely matched black women’s faces about once in 1,000—10 times more frequently. A one in 10,000 false match rate is often used to evaluate facial recognition systems.”

Still, it didn’t take long for users on the platform to ask what other physical preferences Twitter has.

Turns out the AIs prefer Ted Cruz with large anime breasts over a normal-looking Ted Cruz.

(To better understand this Tweet, click the link above)

The user who tested the image of Cruz, found that Twitter’s algorithm on the back end selected what part of the picture it would showcase in the preview and ultimately chose both images of Cruz with a large anime chest.

It’s nothing new that Twitter has its massive problems.

For a platform that so controls and oversees so much of what we consume and how we now operate, it’s scary to know how Twitter chooses to display people with different skin tones. The round of jokes and Twitter experiments by users has only revived concerns on how “learning” computer algorithms fuel real-world biases like racism and sexism.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com