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Video of NP Allegedly Mistreating Pregnant Woman Sparks Backlash on TikTok


Jillian Rightmyer was seven months pregnant when she went to the Norristown branch of Philly Pregnancy Center in Pennsylvania to get a doctor’s note, so she could start her maternity leave early. She experienced stomach pain and other complications during the appointment, but she claims she was dismayed by the Nurse Practitioner’s reaction to her pain.

Rightmyer, recorded the scene on video. “What were you thinking about when you got pregnant — that you were not going to work?” asks Nurse Practitioner Theresa Smigo which was posted to TikTok. “I’m just curious. Because I had three kids. I worked up until the second they were born.” (sic) the NP continues.

“I was thinking about having a kid,” Rightmyer, 25, responds. She also said she was asked to wait in the lobby for the note.

“But am I you?” Rightmyer retorts in the video. “Are you me? Do you know how I feel?”

“Because I stuck my hand in there and checked your cervix,” Smigo replies with a chuckle. The NP suggested that Rightmyer was trying to commit fraud.

“OK, you checked my cervix, but how do you know how my bones feel? But how do you know how my body feels? My legs? My back? How do you know how that feels? How you know how my nausea feels? How you know how my cramps feel?” (sic) Rightmyer asks.


#duet with @goddess_jay_ #philly #tdwhbwwh #pregnancy

♬ original sound – Jillian

The video quickly went viral on social media where many people were quick to call out the ways in which black women are discriminated against in the healthcare system. “This is how Black women experience maternal mortality at such high rates,” one person wrote on Twitter. “And why is this nurse second guessing the doctor? Furthermore, what business is it of this nurse IF the patient doesn’t want to work during her pregnancy?”

Rightmyer even appeared on the TODAY show to talk about her experience at the facility. She explained that she has scoliosis, a curvature of the spine, and that she had become weary of Smigo’s behavior after seeing her three times throughout her pregnancy.

“Our first interaction was a little bit shaky,” Rightmyer recalled. “I gave her the benefit of the doubt. I just kind of overlooked certain things, like the way she was like speaking to me. I felt like it was all racial because of my ethnic background and also maybe because of my religious background — all of it. I just felt like it was definitely discrimination.”

A staff member at the clinic even called the police as the confrontation between Rightmyer and Smigo escalated in the lobby.

“I was devastated. I was really upset,” Rightmyer said of her interaction with the police. “My heart was pounding like the baby’s kicking. I was so upset. And I just kept on asking them, ‘Why are you guys here? Why did you guys feel the need to come here?’ … Because, like, you could look at me and see I’m not — I don’t want to hurt nobody.”

She is now suing Smigo and the Philly Pregnancy Center for discrimination.

“Jill deserves a public apology and so much more. The Philadelphia Pregnancy Center should be held accountable, but more importantly we as a society need to hold each other accountable,” Briana Lynn Pearson, the attorney representing Rightmyer, said in a statement to the press. “Every day in this country someone is discriminated against by a medical provider because of their immutable characteristics. Sometimes this discriminatory treatment is fatal.”

The clinic responded by saying that it takes these issues very seriously.

“The incident, (Smigo’s) response, and the entire matter is under investigation. We have never encountered anything like this,” the clinic’s statement said in part. “We are deeply sorry for the entire incident, and we will continue serving our patients as always with love and care.”

Steven Briggs
Steven Briggs is a healthcare writer for Scrubs Magazine, hailing from Brooklyn, NY. With both of his parents working in the healthcare industry, Steven writes about the various issues and concerns facing the industry today.

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