- Doctors misdiagnosed Oprah’s thyroid problem as a heart issue in 2007, Winfrey told The Los Angeles Times.
- Winfrey confronted one of the doctors, who told the television personality “I wasn’t going to have you die on me.”
- The interview was to promote her new documentary “The Color of Care.”
Oprah Winfrey spoke out about how medical racism and access to healthcare impacted her own life — including the time a doctor misdiagnosed a thyroid issue that caused heart palpitations.
“And she said, ‘What was I gonna do? You’re Oprah Winfrey, and I wasn’t going to have you die on me without having done everything I thought I could do,'” Winfrey told The Los Angeles Times.
Winfrey said she thought the doctor had acted “irresponsible.”
“And I also thought, for the first time, ‘I can see now that when you show up and you’re a known person, although everybody seems excited to see you, they’re also nervous because they’ve got to also cover themselves,'” Winfrey said.
Winfrey spoke about her experiences as a Black woman when dealing with the healthcare system. The 68-year-old talk show legend said being a celebrity accessing healthcare had its drawbacks, but also its advantages.
“I noticed that things change for you when you are a person who is known. You get the doctor’s appointment. You don’t have to wait in line. You don’t have to deal with a lot of excess delays that other people have .And so I have lived this life of privilege and advantage, and then been exposed to the best of healthcare.
The interview was partly to promote a documentary Winfrey is producing called “The Color of Care,” which tackles racial health inequalities. In the US, racial disparities lead to a lower quality of healthcare and death due to preventable diseases. During the COVID-19 pandemic, people of color and lower-income people were more likely to contract and die from COVID-19.
Winfrey said she was inspired to produce the film after learning of Gary Fowler, a Black man who died on his couch after being rejected from three emergency rooms for COVID-19 symptoms.
Winfrey also revealed during the interview that she had stayed in her home for 322 days straight during the pandemic and will continue to wear masks as a precaution.