You already know that pregnancy can be risky business, but did you know that the color of your skin might make you more likely to experience serious complications? The pregnancy-related mortality rate for black, American Indian, and Alaska Native women more than doubles that of any other race. Poorer quality of care and provider biases are thought to be among the reasons for this disparity. If you suspect that your prenatal care suffered because of your race, here are four steps you can take to get justice.
The first step in getting justice is to gather all the evidence you can to show that your medical provider was biased and negligent. Hard evidence, including letters, emails and recordings, is always best. However, you can also speak with other patients at the practice who are willing to make statements or testify on your behalf.
Look for white patients who were treated better, other patients of color who were also discriminated against and staff who can corroborate your claims. While bias is a difficult and intangible thing to prove, no bias exists in a void. If you can find real indications of racial bias in the doctors in question, you can add serious credibility to your case.
Report Your Medical Provider
After you have compiled all the evidence, contact your local medical licensing board and file a report against the provider. You will probably be contacted by an investigator in the following days or weeks, so be prepared to answer all their questions. If your provider is found guilty, their medical license will be suspended or revoked.
Find a Lawyer
While reporting your medical provider can help hold them accountable, you also deserve compensation for your expenses and suffering. Find a birth injury attorney with experience getting justice for families who have suffered painful and expensive consequences due to medical negligence during pregnancy and childbirth. If you win your case or reach a settlement, consider putting some of the money in a trust for your child’s future care.
Be an Advocate
Do you want to help prevent other pregnant people from experiencing the same discrimination that you faced? Share your experience to create awareness and change. Join an organization that seeks to advance racial equality in pregnancy and healthcare or consider starting your own. You can also speak to prenatal classes and tell your story in the media or on the internet.
Although getting justice can help you achieve closure, you may also benefit from professional counseling to help you deal with your traumatic pregnancy. You can also find free resources and support groups to help you cope or use social media to connect with others who have similar experiences.