Black Women Are Speaking Out After Serena Williams Revealed She Faced Life-Threatening Birth Complications

In a Vogue cover story, Williams said doctors initially ignored
her concerns when she identified her own symptoms of a
pulmonary embolism after giving birth.

Posted on January 11, 2018, 19:16 GMT

After her heart rate took a dip during labor, Williams said she
had an emergency C-section. Fortunately, the surgery went
smoothly, and Olympia even stopped crying the moment she was
laid down atop her mother.

“That was an amazing feeling,” Williams told Vogue. “And then
everything went bad.”

The next day, Williams said she felt short of breath and grew
concerned she might be having a pulmonary embolism. Williams
said she regularly takes blood thinners due to her history of
blood clots, one of which she nearly died from in 2011.

Williams said she told a nurse she needed a CT scan and a blood
thinner immediately, but the nurse thought the pain medicine
had left her confused. When Williams further insisted on
treatment, a doctor instead performed an ultrasound of her

“I was like, a Doppler? I told you, I need a CT scan and a
heparin drip,” Williams said she told the medical team.

The hospital workers performed a CT scan after the ultrasound
revealed nothing. Indeed, they found several small blood clots
in her lungs and treated her with blood thinners.

“I was like, listen to Dr. Williams!” she said.

Her health complications didn’t end there. Her C-section wound
opened due to coughing caused by the embolism, doctors found a
large hematoma in her abdomen during surgery, and she wound up
bedridden for six weeks after giving birth.

About 700 women in the United States die each year as a result
of pregnancy or delivery complications, according to the

And, according to a recent report by ProPublica, black women are three or four
times more likely than white women to die during childbirth.

“I wish I could say that Mary was the only Black patient I’d
met that had problems with pain medication but that was not the
case,” Jo tweeted. “I’ve seen so many excuses for not giving
post op patients adequate pain control, even though many of
them are recovering from cancer.”

Read the full thread here.

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