My friend Leesha almost died due to unconscious bias against obese women when her doctors dismissed her extremely high blood pressure as simply nerves for being in the hospital.
Leesha went to see her doctor, complaining of shortness of breath and tachycardia (an abnormally high heart rate). She also has a history of blood clots (due to a genetic disorder) that have almost killed her multiple times. When you’ve had blood clots in your lungs before, you don’t mess around with shortness of breath.
Her doctor took her blood pressure and it was at 189/117. Normal blood pressure is around 120/80 which is what Leesha’s blood pressure generally hovers around. The doctor immediately admitted Leesha to the hospital for treatment. In this hospital, the hospital-based doctors take over care, and Leesha’s doctor would only receive reports.
By the time she arrived, her blood pressure climbed to 205/134.
They ruled out blood clots and came up with a diagnosis? “You must have white coat syndrome. Maybe you should go home.”
She went home and a friend, who happened to be a nurse practitioner came to visit and check up on her. The nurse practitioner friend took her blood pressure and found it to be 223/119.
To keep reading, click here: How Unconscious Bias Almost Killed My Friend