A nurse on TikTok is sounding the alarm on racial discrimination Black people face in healthcare settings.
TikToker Nurse Nika (@nikaxnoel) posted a viral video about a doctor misdiagnosing a Black patient as mentally ill because the patient patted her weave, which is an artificial hair extension.
It’s since sparked an important conversation on racial bias and what can be done to forge a healthier path forward.
The TikTok shows Nika in bright green scrubs while the Law & Order theme song plays. The text onscreen explains why more Black doctors and nurses are urgently needed.
“Reason #212 why we have a need for Black doctors/nurses to assess Black patients or at least be a walking resource. The doctor said the pt [patient] was hitting her head with the palm of her hand, so she must be hearing voices,” Nika wrote with an eyeroll emoji.
“This girl was patting her weave,” she concluded.
Since being posted, Nika’s video has garnered over 669,700 views. In the comments, people were shocked that a licensed medical professional could jump to conclusions so quickly.
“He jumped to conclusions and made the worst assumption,” a woman commented. “Did he bother to ask/assess????”
“Also, like why is their first thought ‘shes hearing voices’ and not ‘shes messing with her hair’ or, y’know. just asking her what she’s doing,” another person commented.
A third was grateful for Nika blowing the whistle on what has become the norm for people of color. “THANK YOU!!! And as white folks we need to educate ourselves on the cultural norms of ALL OF OUR PATIENTS!” they wrote.
Nika’s patient is far from the first Black person to be discriminated against in the predominantly white world of healthcare. Black women are three to four times more likely to experience a pregnancy-related death than white women.
Black Americans are also 2.4 times more likely than non-Black Americans to be diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Many users shared stories from the viewpoint of both patients and medical professionals.
“My preceptor was assessing a patient who had a stroke and he pronounced 50-50 as ‘fiddy fiddy’ and she said he’s slurring,” a user shared.
Another said that a Black patient’s hair was damaged since medical staff didn’t know how to properly care for it.
“I had to help detangle a pt’s hair because the other staff just washed it and left her 4C hair as is,” she wrote. “It was soo dreaded and tangled, so much fallout.”
One mom said her son was also misdiagnosed because he touched his hair.
“This is so real! my sons therapist asked if he had a tick due to him hitting himself during the session lol I was like he just got his hair braided,” this mother commented.
Some users believe that the way forward is through making “cultural training” mandatory for medical professionals.
“This has really happened. They gave this woman a psych eval over this and I had to explain this to them,” this woman noted. “I told them y’all need some cultural training.”
The Daily Dot reached out to Nika via TikTok comment.