Far too often, when Sarah Perren went to a Philadelphia hospital for her regular diabetes care, her doctor gave her dietary recommendations that she never could have afforded. Just stepping into the office made the 59-year-old Black woman feel tense and self-conscious; she sensed that the doctor thought she was just lazy for not following his diet.
One time, another doctor at the clinic literally jumped back when she took off Perren’s socks and saw her dry skin—a frequent consequence of diabetes. The doctor announced that she didn’t want any skin flakes to get onto her clothes.
“I felt it was racial,” the West Philadelphia resident recalled. “You just have a feeling the way they talk to you. That’s when I told myself my health is more important somewhere else.”
She has since established care with another hospital, but still feels the toll of what experts