The family of a black 15-year-old girl believes a hospital failed to treat the teen's chest pain, which led to her sudden death on July 13 in Stockton, California (video below).
Yunique Morris' grandmother Wanda Ely told KTXL that Yunique's doctor at a California hospital diagnosed the teen with chest wall pain. The doctor reportedly prescribed antibiotics, pain medication and bed rest.
"Her health just started going downhill," Ely recalled. "It got to the point where she couldn’t even go up and down a flight of stairs without getting out of breath."
Yunique went back to see the doctor a few days later, and the doctor told her she had a minor illness.
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Yunique's mother was worried and asked for an X-ray, but was turned down.
The Mayo Clinic website notes that an X-ray won't detect a blood clot, but a CT scan, pulmonary angiogram or an MRI will.
"And they told her, 'she has inflammation of the chest, she's going to get better,'" Ely told the news station. "[Yunique] felt nobody is helping her, and she didn't really understand what was going through her body but she knew something wasn’t right."
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Yunique texted her mother on July 13: "I NEED TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL, I JUST PASSED OUT, I’M THROWING UP NOW."
Yunique's brother brought her to the hospital's emergency room, where ER doctors found the teen had several blood clots in her chest; she died hours later.
"My granddaughter was walking around suffering from these blood clots for a period of two weeks and we not knowing that these were going to be her last and final days," Ely said.
Children's Hospital in Oakland is conducting an autopsy on Yunique. Meanwhile, her family created a GoFundMe page to pay for her upcoming funeral.
The hospital that treated Yunique refused to comment on its dead patient because of its patient confidentiality rule.
A study published in the journal Plos One in 2016 found that emergency rooms were half as likely to prescribe black patients opioid painkillers than white patients,The Guardian reports.
Astha Singhal, an assistant professor at Boston University's dental medicine school and co-author of the study, said: "A black patient with the same level of pain and everything else being accounted for was much less likely to receive an opioid prescription than a white patient with the same characteristics."
The study was based on more than 60 million pain-related emergency room visits by people aged 18 to 65 between 2007 to 2011.
Keisha Ray, a postdoctoral fellow with the McGovern Center for Humanities and Ethics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, added: "This study unfortunately tells us what we already know – black patients are improperly treated for pain and that is mostly because of their skin color."