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‘Birth Can Feel Like You’re on the Brink of Death’: Emory Health Care Maternity Nurses Cut from Staff, Face Backlash for Mocking Patients In ‘Icks’ TikTok Video

A group of nurses will no longer care for patients at Emory University Hospital Midtown after being featured in a viral TikTok video criticizing expectant mothers who are under their care.

In a 52-second video initially posted to TikTok, four labor and delivery nurses complained about “icks” or pet peeves about patients and their families in the unit.

The video garnered more than 100,000 views before it was deleted, reports show. It’s unclear when it was initially posted; however, it has been reposted on several other social media platforms, spurring outrage over the insensitivity of the comments. Still, some viewers argue that the trendy video did not warrant the backlash it received.

“My ick is when you come into your induction talking ’bout, ‘Can I take a shower and eat?'” one nurse says.

“My ick is when you ask me how much the baby weighs, and it’s still in your hands,” another nurse says.

“When we’ve already told you to push the call light, but every five minutes, your family member comes to the front desk asking for something else,” a third nurse says.

Some women who have experienced complications during childbirth or shoddy care in Emory’s labor and delivery unit also have voiced their outrage.

“Had my child here. They coerced me into a c-section, completely disregarded me when I discussed my pain with them my entire time I went into labor & after delivery/recovery,” wrote Twitter user Yummy P. “Only allowed me 800 ibuprofen after a c section…my baby died in care of Emory nurses in the end as well.”

The hospital quickly condemned the nurses’ comments, issuing a statement on Dec. 9.

“Emory Healthcare is committed to providing empathetic, high-quality care to our community, and our patients come first,” the hospital wrote. “We are aware of a TikTok video that included disrespectful and unprofessional comments about maternity patients at Emory University Hospital Midtown. We have investigated the situation and taken appropriate actions with the former employees responsible for the video.”

Emory is a staple health-care system in Atlanta, which is also home to its prestigious university. It is the largest health-care system in Georgia, with 11 hospitals and 250 providers in the state.

However, one Twitter user who identified herself as a former Emory Midtown employee said she told two “different expecting couples not to use” the hospital because “of everything” she “knew and heard about” the labor and delivery staff.

Many pointed out how risky labor and delivery could be, especially for Black women in a state with one of the highest maternal mortality rates.

“Birth can feel like you’re on the brink of death. The last thing I need is a nurse that is clocking whether or not I’ll contribute to her ick list vs. creating a peaceful environment for delivery,” KelCeeElle wrote.

Black mothers have a 53 percent higher chance of dying during childbirth than white women, a recent report shows. Georgia’s maternal mortality rate is so high that the state has a special health commission that examines the deaths. Georgia tops all 50 states with the highest maternal mortality rate of 46.2 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births for all women. There are 66.6 deaths per 100,000 live births for Black women in Georgia, a recent report shows.

“This breaks my heart. As much as Black women go through during pregnancy and our percentages for complications these women should count it an honor to BE THE CHANGE and a standard of professionalism and advocacy but they are annoyed at a great profession they chose,” Susan Legasee wrote.

Researchers say social determinants of health, such as the physical environment, economic stability, health-care access, and the quality of maternal care, contribute to the state’s high maternal mortality rate.

Despite widespread outrage, some online users believe Emory may have overreacted to the video and the punishment was too harsh.

“They shouldn’t have been fired,” wrote Belle Snow. “Everyone has something they’re annoyed about at work.”

Three urgent care nurses who reportedly work for Fast Pace Health, an outpatient health provider with more than 200 clinics in Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Indiana and Alabama, also posted a video with their patient “icks” that originated from TikTok. The video also since has been deleted from its initial platform and is now floating online.

Some are calling for Fast Pace Health nurses to face the same fate as the Emory nurses. It is unclear when it was initially posted online.

“My favorite is whenever they come into urgent care with chest pain wanting to rule out a stroke or a heart attack,” one nurse said.

“ER. ER,” two of the three nurses say in unison.

“You will die here,” another nurse adds.

“Don’t ever tell us that you came here because we were quicker—because you know we want to get out fast. We want to go home,” one nurse said.

“You will not get any goodness out of us,” another nurse said.

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