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Angelina Jolie shares how her children were 'misdiagnosed' due to their skin: 'Embrace new solutions'

Jolie shared medical research and training centers focus on white skin, which is why professionals 'often miss injuries depending on race, ethnicity.'

Angelina Jolie shares how her children were 'misdiagnosed' due to their skin: 'Embrace new solutions'
Image Source: Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, Zahara Jolie-Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Vivienne Jolie-Pitt, Maddox Jolie-Pitt and Knox Jolie-Pitt attending the screening of Marvel Studios' on October 27, 2021 in London, England — Getty Images | Gareth Cattermole

Angelina Jolie is addressing racial inequities in the world of medical care. The 48-year-old actress and humanitarian published an op-ed for the American Journal of Nursing on July 5. Not only did she criticize the "prioritization of white skin in medicine" as an advocate against domestic violence she also detailed new technology that allows for bruising to be seen on darker skin tones. The "Wanted" star said she visited forensic nurse Katherine N. Scafide to see “the simple, portable device” that directs “alternate light” on the skin.



 

The mother-of-six noted how medical research, imagery and training centers focus on white skin and as a result, medical professionals “often miss injuries depending on race and ethnicity.” She also spoke of her own experience seeing her “children of color be misdiagnosed” due to their skin tone. "As the mother of children of multiple races, I have seen my children of color be misdiagnosed, at times in ways that endangered their health," she shared.

Zahara Jolie-Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Maddox Jolie-Pitt attend the Japan premiere of 'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' on October 03, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan. (Photo by Christopher Jue/Getty Images for Disney)
Image Source: Zahara Jolie-Pitt, Angelina Jolie, and Maddox Jolie-Pitt attend the Japan premiere of 'Maleficent: Mistress of Evil' on October 03, 2019 in Tokyo, Japan — Getty Images | Christopher Jue

Jolie shared that her 18-year-old daughter Zahara, who is from Ethiopia, had a medical procedure where she was told to look if "she turns pink near her incisions" to check for improper healing. “I stood looking blankly at her, not sure she understood what was wrong with what she had said. When she left the room, I had a talk with my daughter, both of us knowing that we would have to look for signs of infection based on our own knowledge, not what the nurse had said, despite her undoubted good intentions,” the "Unbroken" filmmaker wrote.

According to TODAY, Jolie adopted her eldest child, Maddox from Cambodia, where he was born, while her son Pax was born in Vietnam. Jolie also shares three biological children with ex-husband Brad Pitt, daughter Shiloh and twins Knox and Vivienne.


 
 
 
 
 
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The actress maintained that even though her family has “access to high-quality medical care, simple diagnoses are missed because of race and continued prioritization of white skin in medicine.” Jolie noted how racial disparities may particularly impact survivors of abuse. “For abuse victims, evidence of injury is often crucial for accessing legal protection and physical and mental health treatment, making the role of health care professionals critical,” the "Maleficent" actress said.

Actress Angelina Jolie hugs Zahara Marley Jolie-Pitt (L) and Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt (R) after winning award for Favorite Villain in 'Maleficent' during Nickelodeon's 28th Annual Kids' Choice Awards held at The Forum on March 28, 2015 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Image Source: Actress Angelina Jolie hugs Zahara Marley Jolie-Pitt (L) and Shiloh Nouvel Jolie-Pitt (R) after winning award for Favorite Villain in 'Maleficent' during Nickelodeon's 28th Annual Kids' Choice Awards held at The Forum on March 28, 2015 in Inglewood, California — Getty Images | Kevin Winter

“Without use of the best available technology to detect bruising, abuse survivors of color are at a significant disadvantage in having their injuries properly identified and documented, are at greater risk for further abuse, and have less of a chance of receiving justice or medical care.”

She added, “Advanced technology should be universally available as part of a push to save lives and improve legal outcomes for abuse survivors, including methods to detect and measure heat at the site of injury regardless of skin tone.” For any society, this sort of racial disparity in health care affects the outcomes for millions of people. Angelina Jolie concluded her op-ed by saying, “From technology to improving diversity and representation in medical research and training, it is past time to embrace new solutions."

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