School Waited To Call 911 While Black Teen Was Having Stroke, Mother Says


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A Black Massachusetts mother wants her son's school nurses reprimanded after they failed to believe her 17-year-old was having a stroke and waited to call 911.

Alishia Hicks, the mother of D’Andre Hicks, said her son doesn't feel safe at Henderson Inclusion School since nurses waited 45 minutes to alert emergency services of his apparent stroke symptoms, Boston 25 News reports. D'Andre, who has a family history of strokes, told school nurses he was feeling "weak,” “shaky,” and “numb,” and the nurses opted to not call 911, but instead they contacted his mother to pick him up.

When Alishia received the call from Henderson Inclusion school, she emphasized their family's medical history. After having three strokes herself, the mother said she was unable to immediately pick her son up because she uses a wheelchair.

“Listen there’s a small vessel problem on my mother’s side of the family that causes a stroke easily if there’s any blockage in it is so important to get him to the hospital right away because he could die," Alishia told one of the nurses.

According to Alishia, the nurse still didn't believe her son was experiencing a stroke.

“Your professional eye may not see the stroke,” Alishia said over the phone. “It’s not visible but if he’s telling you he is weak on his left side, please, at this point I’m pleading with all intensity that I could muster up with no voice. Please get my son to the hospital, please.”

D'Andre, a junior at Henderson, told Boston 25 News, “They start arguing with her on that while I’m out here stroking on the bed right now trying to stay up." The 17-year-old continued, “I was afraid that if I fell asleep or something like that I was going to go into a coma or probably for the worst.”

After 45 minutes of arguing, the Hicks family said school nurses proceeded to call the Department of Children and Families services before contacting 911.

Once D'Andre made it to the hospital, doctors confirmed the teen was experiencing a stroke. Healthcare workers were able to stop the stroke with medication.

A district spokesperson said in a statement about the incident, “Our concern is first with the health and well-being of this student. We are glad to hear he is recovering well." The spokesperson continued, "This serious incident is being reviewed by appropriate BPS staff and therefore it would be inappropriate to comment further on this specific matter.”

According to Boston 25 News, Alishia pointed out national research that highlights racial bias in healthcare. The mother questioned whether race was involved in Henderson nurses not believing D'Andre was having a stroke.

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