Another day, another black woman failed by the medical system

25-year-old Toshanna Ward died earlier this year after being neglected in a crowded emergency room. I’m not a doctor; I don’t know procedures and I don’t know why she was sitting there waiting.

However, I do know these things:

  • Ward had been previously diagnosed with an enlarged heart when she was pregnant last year (sadly, her baby died shortly after birth).
  • This year, she went to the ER complaining of chest pains and shortness of breath, where they performed triage, ran tests, confirmed her enlarged heart.
  • They then sent her back into the lobby to wait for over two hours.

According to the above link, she was “upset” by the long wait and opted to try Urgent Care, where she collapsed outside her car and died shortly later.

Setting aside the fact that the article acts like she was being impatient about the wait at the ER (as if she didn’t have a reason to be!), Ward is hardly the first black woman to die waiting for medical attention.



  1. [flames, flames on the side of my face]

  2. Froedtert Hospital – “We respect their wishes and privacy during this difficult time,” the statement said. “They continue to be in our thoughts and have our deepest sympathy.”

    If they had shown Ms Ward the respect and care she deserved while at their facility her family might not need their sympathy now.

    • It’s not like ER waiting room deaths aren’t a thing either. I realize you can’t get to everyone but like…I dunno, my husband went to the ER a couple years ago and they considered it serious (chest pains and passing out – he’s OK though!), and it took like 30 minutes at a counter, with no one else in the ER waiting, to fill out forms and fuck around with insurance and shit.

      • You’d think chest pains and shortness of breath would put you pretty high up on the triage list. Glad your husband is okay.

        • You’d think so, but my wife waited for a damned hour just to get called out of the waiting area with chest pains and shortness of breath. There has been a longstanding shortage of nurses and doctors in this country and it’s going to get much, much worse.

          • Yeah my sister is a nurse and she is about to start some program where she’s going to spend a few years moving every few months, doing temp work for places that are short staffed.

            It’s almost like if they made higher education accessible to more people, they’d be able to get higher educations.

          • I hope she was treated and is doing well now.

            • She got treated but the entire ordeal took about six hours, and she didn’t actually see the ER doc on service until a couple of hours after being called in. They basically just did vitals and a history and left us in there for about an hour when they did another vital check. An hour after that is when the doc showed up, and then it was lots of tests and waiting for results, but essentially she waited for three hours for someone to actually start trying to diagnose the problem.

              • Ugh

      • I think that it’s important to note that while ER waits are a thing, certain groups are substantially more likely to receive timely treatment than others irrespective of the symptoms that they display.

        For example, women who exhibit symptoms of a heart attack are less likely to receive appropriate — and often life-saving — treatment than men. The differences in times are well documented and have been a concern for some time.

        A similar care disparity exists between white folk and people of color, with significantly longer times for black people and (I believe) indigenous Americans.

        • Statistics have been proving you right for ages now. I personally, as a woman, refuse to see a male doctor of any kind (at least when I have control of it). I’m sure that doesn’t solve all the problems but I can’t ignore that disparity when it comes to my health, and I trust a woman more to take me seriously.

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