An experiment from EmpowHER NY, a womxn’s nonprofit organization, tested how racial bias can change how healthcare is given.
In the video experiment, an actor makes two calls to a nurse hotline and describes symptoms of appendicitis. In one call, she uses a Black-coded name and voice, and in the other she uses a white-coded name and voice.
The actress describes the same symptoms in both calls and answers the same questions from the nurse hotline. When using the Black-coded name, she is told to visit an urgent care, but when using the white-coded name, she is told to go immediately to the emergency room.
The video highlights how Black patients often feel the need to code-switch in healthcare settings to receive better care. It also highlights how unconscious bias can affect healthcare providers’ decisions.
At the end of the video, a physician explains that sending a patient with these symptoms to an urgent care and potentially delaying a diagnosis, could lead to life-threatening complications.
The video also calls on healthcare professionals to sign a petition to make unconscious bias training mandatory in hospitals.
The video was created by EmpowHer NY and The Bloc.