Did you see the “We know when y’all are faking” video last week? It’s a TikTok by former Vine star and actual healthcare worker Danyelle Rose, pretending to be a hospital patient and breathing heavily, as if having a panic attack.
The clip, uploaded to Twitter by its creator and star last Tuesday, then cuts back to Rose, now dressed in blue scrubs, as she sings and dances along to the “beat” made by the patient’s breathing until the patient character stops and folds her arms like, “Foiled again!”—the thrust of the joke being “lol patients sometimes pretend to be sick for attention.”
The video, which racked up 129,000 likes and nearly 35,000 retweets, has been met with heavy criticism, as The Daily Dot noted on Friday. Many critics drew on personal experience, explaining how a medical provider not believing a patient’s stated experience has had harmful and sometimes fatal consequences for them or someone they knew.
Others, like MadameNoire culture editor Veronica Wells, have pointed out that Black and Indigenous women in the United States die of pregnancy-related causes at a rate that’s about three times higher than that of white women due to providers’ conscious and unconscious racist biases. Researchers have observed this same bias when examining opioid prescription rates, noting that providers prescribe opioid pain killers to Black patients at far lower rates than their white counterparts, as The New York Times reported on Monday. Other marginalized groups have also been denied life-saving care at disproportionate rates; 8 percent of trans people say that a provider has refused to give them transition-related care, while 3 percent say that a provider has refused to treat them for issues unrelated to transitioning.
“My video had nothing to do with race, mocking panic attacks, or anything else I’ve been accused of,” the TikTok video’s creator tweeted on Friday. But the thing is… it does! Intention doesn’t equal impact, and once a 10-second video is released onto the internet, its creator’s intent matters far less than how it hits with viewers, the majority of whom don’t work in healthcare and wouldn’t get whatever specific contextual references she might’ve been making. All they saw was someone in the medical field laughing at her patients’ pain, perhaps discouraging them from seeking treatment at a later date.
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