Despite the medical advancements and resources available, the journey to motherhood is often marred by disproportionate challenges for Black women.
Deidra Rodriguez is all too familiar with these challenges.
On February 8, 2021, Rodriguez went to the hospital to give birth to her daughter. Approximately two hours after giving birth, she began to feel discomfort in her chest and pain in her head.
“I just didn’t feel normal. I felt like something was wrong so I expressed that to my nurse and she told me ‘Well you don’t have COVID so everything’s fine,’” Rodriguez recalls.
Rodriguez spent the next two days in the hospital thinking she may have come down with a cold until the pain progressed.
“I explained to her again – I said I’m having a lot of pain and discomfort. Even my mouth – my mouth hurts – it feels like my teeth are almost falling out,” Rodriguez adds. “Is there anything I can get for pain relief?”
Rodriguez was once again denied treatment and told that her pain was normal and would go away in a few days.
“I was discharged and when I got home, my symptoms progressed. It went from just having minor chest discomfort, to my jaw hurting, to my head having uncontrollable pounding,” Rodriguez shares. “I was getting night sweats. My arm started to feel numb. I couldn’t catch my breath. It was getting progressively worse.”
Eight days later, she decided to call an ambulance. She told the doctors that she had just given birth and explained the pain she had been experiencing. The doctors decided to transport her to another facility where she once again explained her symptoms.
“He immediately ordered a blood test, ultrasound of my heart [and an] EKG and within an hour knew that I was having a heart attack,” she says. “That’s what was happening to me. That’s why I was in so much pain. So it took me eight days and leaving the actual facility to get help.”
Doctors went inside her heart and discovered that her artery was completely torn. She also had blood clots that needed to