Coronavirus continues to pile onto the health challenges many Black women already experience, while pointing to some of the difficulties Black women experience when encountering medical professionals.
The family of Rana Zoe Mungin, a 30-year-old social studies teacher at Ascend Academy claims she was only seen by her local hospital after she returned three times, barely breathing. Rana graduated from Wellesley College and holds a Master’s Degree from the University of Massachusetts.
“My sister went to the hospital on the 15th of March for fever and shortness of breath. “They gave her albuterol for asthma and gave her a shot of Toradol for her headache,” Rana’s sister Mia Mugnin told Pix111. Mia says that Rana also complained of having a headache.
Mia is a registered nurse and served as her sister’s main advocate over the difficult eight-day period spanning when she first exhibited symptoms to her finally being admitted. Mia family also claims Rana is being refused certain treatments that she should be accessible to her.
Mia said she was also feeling sick and running a fever during this time period after a co-worker was hospitalized around March 8th. The sisters live together in the East New York neighborhood, located in Brooklyn, New York.
After Rana’s first visit to the hospital on March 15, she returned home without being tested. But Rana continued to fall ill, coupled with shortness of breath.
“She still was having shortness of breath, the 16th, 17th, and 18th,” said Mi. “My mother asked her if she wanted to go back to the hospital and she said, ‘No.’” Finally on March 19, at Mia urged that they call 911. In the ambulance Rana was given a nebulizer, but one of the medics didn’t seem to be taking her situation seriously.
“He insinuated she was having a panic attack. She kept saying ‘I can’t breathe,” Mia continued. Mia was examined by a doctor who told the family her lungs were clear and said she would not be tested due to limited supply. She was sent home on the same day. But Mia’s concerns grew after watching her sister struggle to breathe in carrying out everyday tasks.
On March 20, she was admitted to Brookdale Hospital, where she was intubated and placed on a ventilator. Doctors told the family that she was prescribed a mixture of anti-viral Hydroxychloroquine and antibiotic Erythromycin. However, after her levels improved, the family claims her health took a turn on Tuesday.
Days ago Rana was approved to transfer to Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Hospital, which uses an ECMO machine to filter the lungs of patients experiencing complications with the coronavirus, but she still remains at Brookdale.
“I kept calling and calling,” Mia Mungin said. “They decided to hold off on the ECMO, because she was improving.” Another blow came when Zoe was turned down for a Remdesivir clinical trial, which some have called a promising treatment.
However on Thursday after news spread regarding Rana’s story, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) submitted a letter to the FDA, asking that Mungin be accepted as a candidate, according to a separate report by Pix11. A representative for the drug has been in contact with Mia, advocating on her behalf for a transfer to Mt. Sinai.
Now the family awaits next steps as their loved ones future remains uncertain.