A woman who says she was body-shamed by doctors and nurses while on the operating table — and that she has an audio file, from a recorder hidden in her weave, to prove it — is speaking out about the “physical, mental, and emotional scars” it has caused her.
“When you are lying there and these people have you uncovered and you trust them and they speak like this, it’s a bad situation,” Ethel Easter, of Houston, tells Yahoo Beauty through tears about her experience at Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in Houston, where she had hernia surgery in August to help correct a severe case of acid reflux.
“It’s given me self-esteem issues.”
Easter, a real estate agent, explains that she was “caught between a rock and a hard place” when she went to meet with a surgeon through the county’s Harris Health System, one of only two qualified doctors who would accept her Affordable Care Act plan.
“I was in dire need of medical attention,” she explains, as she had stabbing pains every time she ate and had just endured a grueling round of tests involving an endoscopy and tubes up her nose. The doctor told her she would have to wait two months for a surgery date, which rattled an already fragile Easter.
“I started crying, and he wasn’t comforting,” she says. “It was awful the way he talked to me — ‘You have to wait just like everyone else.’”
Although his manner was a “red flag,” Easter says, and, in hindsight, seemed to her to amount to profiling that was “racial,” she felt she had no option but to book her surgery with him, as he was much more experienced than the other physician.
Still, she was worried about how he might treat her, which inspired a rather bold and creative move: to hide a miniature flash recorder, which is about two inches wide and holds up to six hours worth of audio, in her hair.
Although Easter’s hair is natural now, she had a long, braided weave at the time and was able to easily hide the recorder inside. She says she pressed “record” as she undressed before surgery.
“I had no idea what would go on,” she explains, but she feared the worst. “I was afraid that if I didn’t make it [through surgery] nobody would know why, and I wanted them to know it was because he didn’t care about me as a person. Your life is in their hands. I wanted them to know.”
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