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‘Could Have Cost Me My Life’: Black Mother Says Doctor Told Her to Just Walk Around After Complaints About Pain After Birth. It Turned Out to be a Blood Clot

Kristen Johnson and her husband, pastor Alexander Johnson, are sharing their story after the mother reportedly was neglected at a Houston, Texas, hospital following the birth of their now 4-year-old son.

Johnson went to the emergency room after she says she suffered from excruciating pain following the birth of her first child. She received an emergency C-section at the hospital and was discharged after four days.

Kristen Johnson Pastor Alexander Johnson
The Johnson Family (Photo: YouTube screenshot/FOX 26 Houston)

On the fifth day, Johnson said that she began experiencing excruciating pain. “I couldn’t breathe,” she said.

Alexander Johnson called 911, and during the couple’s first trip to the emergency room, his wife was told by a doctor that she had misaligned ribs. The doctor also failed to properly examine Johnson, who also suffers from sickle cell anemia.

Kristen Johnson said the doctor told her, “Well, I’ll save you a few thousand dollars and we won’t do any of the tests. Let’s walk around one time in the ER. If you’re feeling okay, I’ll send you home,” she told “The Isiah Factor Uncensored” on FOX 26 Houston.

“We were offended,” added Alexander Johnson, noting that they had health insurance and weren’t worried about medical expenses. “It seemed a bit dismissive, but he’s the expert in that moment.”

Alexander Johnson said that his wife was discharged with back pain, but she began to have more pain the following day as well as a fever and went back to the ER.

Kristen Johnson said that she sat in the ER for more than an hour with no pain medication before finally being seen after her husband demanded that an attending physician examine her. She said that the staff told her they couldn’t give her any medication until they knew what was going on. Johnson said they eventually took her for a CT scan.

“They took me into CT,” she recalled. “I was maybe out of CT for five or 10 minutes before they came in told me that I had a blood clot in both of my lungs.”

The doctor told the couple that Kristen Johnson had a deadly blood clot called pulmonary embolism. A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot gets stuck in an artery in the lung and blocks the blood flow.

Kristen Johnson credited her husband with saving her life by insisting that she be properly examined, adding that the embolism “could have cost me my life. But because I was adamant and my husband was my advocate, my biggest advocate, I’m here today. I’m a miracle,” she told “The Isiah Factor Uncensored.”

Alexander Johnson said that because of his wife’s sickle cell anemia, she knows how to manage pain and how to deal with pain crises, so when she was in pain following her C-section, he knew that it was serious.

“When she’s in the level of pain that she was in, I know that’s something actually wrong,” Alexander Johnson recalled. “This was different. She was writhing in pain.”

He went on to say that he kept hearing that his wife didn’t look like she was in pain, which he found offensive because she expressed how much pain she was feeling.

“I had to have some stern words with the attending and let him know, ‘My wife knows her pain threshold. She’s telling you she’s in pain. She knows what medicines work for her. She knows what medicines don’t work for her. We realize there was an opioid crisis, is an opioid crisis. She’s not here for that.’ “

He added that he believes the hospital staff thought that his wife was seeking opioids, and noted that they have experienced the same assumption on multiple occasions.

That type of story is one many Black people deal with in hospitals and emergency rooms, especially Black mothers. Black moms have a 53 percent higher death rate during childbirth than white women, while a 2016 survey showed that at least half of medical students believed that Black people have thicker skin than white people, making them able to withstand more pain, according to “The Isaiah Factor Uncensored.”

A survey conducted in 2019 found that Black patients are 40 percent less likely to receive acute pain medication and 34 percent less likely to receive opioid pain meds. The CDC also notes that Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related deaths compared to white women.

The Johnsons said that they experienced their medical scare at one of the best hospitals in the nation and noted how important it is for people to speak up for themselves in similar situations.

“It’s baked into the system, racism is,” said Mr. Johnson. “And, discrimination, whether it’s unconscious bias or microaggressions, we experience them as a consequence of, you know, being Black in America.”

“And, I would say, given that it’s baked into the system, given that we have that awareness, or we should have that awareness, I think it’s incumbent upon whoever’s either the patient or the advocate to ensure that you speak up as loudly as necessary to ensure that the necessary treatment is prescribed.”

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