CHICAGO, IL – Atlanta’s Emory University Hospital Midtown is facing backlash after a viral TikTok video was posted of four nurses sharing their “icks” regarding labor and delivery patients.
“My ick is when you ask me how much the baby weighs and it’s still in your hands,” one nurse says, a play on a TikTok trend that typically involves sharing people sharing their pet peeves about dating. “My ick is when you come in for your induction talking about, ‘Can I take a shower and eat?” another nurse says. A third nurse said her ick was when patients say they “don’t want any pain medicine, no epidural, but you are at an eight out of ten pain.” The list continues to go on with the nurses noting their frustration with partners of patients and their family members.
The original video has since been deleted but not before copies made rounds on social media.
U.S. mortality rates
The nurses’ comments felt especially cruel given in addition to being traumatic for women, childbirth is already painful, costly and incredibly risky, particularly in the United States.
The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate of any nation. There are 23.8 deaths per 100,000 live births. A new study by Commonwealth Fund found American women have an avoidable mortality rate of 198 per 100,000, the highest of any nation included in the study.
Women recalling their own experience
Emory University Hospital Midtown issued a statement posted to social media on December 9 calling those in the video “former employees.”
Women who have had their own purported experiences at Emory Midtown took to social media to describe their own journey.
“I’m a nurse and I was disgusted by [this] video,” one person tweeted. “There’s no excusing that. People literally have near death experiences giving birth and those nurses were soooo insensitive.”
Another user commented, “as someone trained as a doula, these (former) nurses’ ‘ick’ video going around is so upsetting. Birthing while Black is already so risky and intense… and anyone can enact medical racism against Black women. Anyone. It’s deeply upsetting to see Black women among that number.”
TikTok creator Alx Rich created a three-part series detailing her harrowing experience at Emory, including allegations with one of the nurses in the video. She described her delay in care, traumatic delivery and the birth of her son.
This video highlights that Black women have relayed about their treatment by medical establishments: dismissal and unequal treatment. Atlanta’s population is nearly 50% Black, according to a statistic by the CDC; furthermore, Black women are three to four times more at-risk of pregnancy-related death than white women.
“The fact that so many people are sharing stories of traumatic experiences from the Ick Nurse Hospital means that this issue is way bigger than them. Those girls needed to be fired by Emory University Hospital needs to do significant internal work and grow from this,” another user suggested.