Nurse Refuses To Give Pregnant Woman In Pain A Note To Excuse Her From Work — 'What Were You Thinking When You Got Pregnant?'

The nurse called the police on the woman and hit her with a laptop case.

Pregnant woman's experience with nurse TikTok TikTok

In comparison to other countries, maternity leave in the United States is abysmal. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) ensures pregnant women have just 12 weeks of job-protected leave.

Still, many face an uphill battle considering that only 23% of private industry employees have access to paid leave. One expectant mother had trouble getting approved for her leave altogether.

A nurse refused to give the pregnant woman a note to excuse her from work.

At a Philadelphia-area pregnancy clinic, a woman named Jill, captured and uploaded a video to TikTok of a nurse arguing with her over a doctor’s note. In subsequent videos, she explained what happened before the recorded interaction. 


She had come into the clinic to get a note to excuse her from work for the last two months of her pregnancy. She detailed having pain that made it difficult to do her job.

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When she started describing the pain to the nurse, she was cut off and had her cervix examined “very aggressively.” The nurse refused to grant her a note, so she requested to speak to a doctor. She was subsequently taken to a back office to speak to one over the phone.


“Please don’t take her to my office,” Jill claims the nurse said. “No one wants to go to your office. You’re a weirdo for that,” she responded.

Then, shockingly, the nurse called the authorities, telling them that she felt “threatened.” The police eventually left, and Jill got her doctor’s note. But that’s when the nurse came into the clinic’s lobby to confront her. Jill started recording.

The nurse berated the pregnant woman for getting pregnant and not wanting to work.

“What were you thinking about when you got pregnant, that you were not going to work?” the nurse asked. “I’m just curious because I’ve had three kids and worked up until the second they were born.”

“But am I you? Do you know how I feel?” Jill responded. The nurse went on to claim that Jill’s medical chart was inaccurate.


“What I read on your chart isn’t true,” she said. “What’s on my chart that isn’t true?” Jill responded.

She claimed that when she checked her cervix, she determined that she wasn’t worthy of receiving maternity leave. “But how do you know how my bones feel?” Jill clapped back. “How do you know my body feels, my legs, my back?”

The nurse called her “ridiculous,” and Jill responded by moving up her phone’s camera to show her face. The nurse tried to cover the camera with a laptop case, hitting her. Then she threatened to call the authorities again, and Jill urged her to do so, claiming that her video has proof of her maltreatment.

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Many have considered the interaction another example of racism in the medical industry.

Jill’s lawyer, Briana Lynn Pearson, described the nurse’s treatment of Jill in an email to The Philadelphia Enquirer.

“Jill, an African American woman, went to the Philadelphia Pregnancy Center at seven months pregnant, in pain, seeking medical care and was met with abuse, neglect, and discriminatory treatment because she is African American,” Pearson wrote. 

Some people in the comments supported the notion that Jill was treated differently because of her race. “Having a baby in this country is so much harder than it needs to be. I can’t imagine when it’s also coupled [with] blatant and systemic racism,” one person wrote.

“This is the true face of the medical system in this country! Health insurance or no health insurance all they see is skin tone,” another added.


Numerous studies support the idea that medical racism exists, resulting in disproportionate care for people of color. Others also pointed out that the nurse speaking with her in the clinic’s lobby violates HIPAA — a law designed to protect a patient’s privacy.

“It’s a [HIPAA] violation for her to be talking about you in the waiting room,” one person wrote. “File a complaint with the nursing board.”

The pregnancy clinic released a statement on its website detailing it will conduct a “top to bottom analysis” to address the issue and ensure their nurse practitioners treat patients “in a medically and socially appropriate manner” moving forward.


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Ethan Cotler is a writer living in Boston. He writes on entertainment and news.