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Black Maternal Health Crisis Hits Home for CA Woman Catastrophically Injured at UCLA Giving Birth
Short documentary "Bianca's Story: Black Moms at Risk" tells her story
By: Black Moms At Risk
"Instead of holding my baby in my arms that day, I was hoping and praying to God that I was going to make it out alive," said Dickerson Williams. "Instead of owning up to their catastrophic mistakes, conducting tests, and finding solutions for the debilitating physical pain they caused, the hospital sent a social worker to evaluate my mental state and ask if I have diapers at home. I felt unheard, ignored, and humiliated."
In 2016, Dickerson Williams filed a lawsuit against The Regents of the University of California, alleging professional negligence, fraud and concealment, and loss of consortium. The fight for justice is in its sixth year, a waiting game only the hospital has the time and money to play indefinitely.
Dickerson Williams is a married mother of two. She holds a Juris Doctor (J.D.) and is also certified in electronic evidence discovery. She has spent her career providing consultative subject matter expertise to clients in companies, law firms, and government agencies involved in controlling and mitigating risk, as well as a variety of legal disputes and investigations.
She has also spent years trying to uncover what really happened to her because the injuries were never documented in UCLA's medical records. Abundantly clear is the scope of the national Black maternal health crisis, particularly in California, and how she could just as easily have been a mortality rate statistic
● African American women are three to four times more likely to die during childbirth than any other race in this country. (The Centers for Disease Control)
● Black infants are more than twice as likely to die in their first year than white infants. ( US Dept of Health & Social Services)
● Black mothers in California are six times more likely to die within a year of pregnancy than white women. (CA Dept of Public Health)
"Although it is still traumatizing to discuss, I feel an obligation to share my story with the world because I feel my life was spared for a reason," said Dickerson Williams. "Sometimes, even in the most horrific situations, there can be a light. I'm hoping to be that light that saves the life of another African American or Indigenous woman in this country. I hope to be a light that reminds health care professionals to be more careful."
Dickerson Williams sees parallels between the way women of color are treated in the health care system and the terror many African Americans feel interacting with law enforcement.
"I relate my experience over and over again to police brutality and an abuse of power by police in that before police wore body cameras, their story was the story. Prior to body cameras, we were 100% relying on the authenticity and testimony of the police. A doctor or a nurse is no different. The exception though is doctors and nurses are not wearing body cameras," said Dickerson Williams.
In Dickerson Williams' case, neither the injuries that she sustained nor the complications both she and her daughter experienced were ever documented in her records.
"When they take you into the operating room, there are no other eyes witnessing what is or is not happening. What is, or is not being injected into your body. There is no one else writing down in an operative report or a chart note, what did or did not happen, very similar to a police report. So whatever it is they say happened, that is what happened. And you bear the burden of proving something different. And that for me is not justice. That is a faulty system working against the average human being," concluded Dickerson Williams.
Bianca sat down with filmmaker Christian Cordeaux to discuss for the first time her personal story, the ongoing fight for justice and a health care system that is stacked against African American and Indigenous mothers in California and beyond.
The 15-minute short documentary film can be viewed at Bianca's Story: Black Moms At Risk (https://blackmomsatrisk.com/
To speak with Bianca Dickerson Williams, please contact Kevin Lampe at firstname.lastname@example.org 312-617-7280 or Kitty Kurth at email@example.com 312-617-7288.
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