ANA Releases Statement on TikTok of White NP Accusing Pregnant Black Mother of Fraud

4 Min Read Published November 4, 2022
ANA Releases Statement on TikTok of White NP Accusing Pregnant Black Mother of Fraud

A video of a White nurse practitioner, Theresa Smigo, at the Philly Pregnancy Center in Norristown, Pennsylvania accusing a Black pregnant woman, Jillian, of fraud and abuse of the system has gained national attention.



♬ original sound - Jillian

Jillian, 25, an expectant mother, was seven months pregnant at the time of the incident in October, and had an appointment at the clinic after experiencing pain and other complications. According to the video, she had spoken with her OB and requested a note that would allow her to begin her maternity leave from her job as a home health aide. 

A mom to an already 3-year-old daughter was confronted by the NP in the waiting area regarding the work note. “What were you thinking about when you got pregnant? That you were not going to work?” the NP asks Jillian. “Because I had three kids. I worked up until the second they were born.”


The NP later explains that a work note is fraud as Jillian responds, “It’s not fraud — if it was fraud, the doctor wouldn’t be getting me my note right now. How do you know how I feel? How do you know how my body feels inside?”

“Because I stuck my hand in there and checked your cervix,” the NP replies.

“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?” Jillian asks.

In an interview with TODAY, Jillian explained that she had previously seen this NP three other times and had growing concerns regarding the care she was provided. Jillian suffers from uncorrected scoliosis and often suffered from more severe back pain during pregnancy. “Our first interaction was a little bit shaky,” Jillian 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.”

According to Jillian, she began to feel that her care was being affected because she was black and Muslim and the NP’s behavior was reflective of that. “I felt like it was all racial because of my ethnic background and also maybe because of my religious background — all of it,” Jillian explained. “I just felt like it was definitely discrimination.”

The Norristown Police Department was called at the time of the incident which is still an ongoing investigation. Briana Lynn Pearson, a lawyer representing Jillian, issued the following statement, “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,” Pearson’s statement said. “Every day in this country someone is discriminated against by a medical provider because of their immutable characteristics. Sometimes this discriminatory treatment is fatal.”


Image: Jillian and daughter

Statement by the Philly Pregnancy Center

The Philly Pregnancy Center released the following statement and it is also on the homepage of their website. 

“We at the Philly Pregnancy Center (“PPC”) have taken the recent uproar over the conduct of one of our contract nurse practitioners very seriously. The incident, her response and the entire matter is under investigation. We have never encountered anything like this. So, we are starting a top to bottom analysis of how we work with our patients to make sure we interact with each person in a medically and socially appropriate manner. The great staff at PPC has served a diverse population in the Philadelphia area for 13 years. Many underserved people depend upon our dedication to providing top quality maternal and fetal care. We will continue this work despite the recent setbacks. We have worked very hard for many years caring for the underserved in Norristown and Philadelphia – we serve all women regardless of any other factor. We are deeply sorry for the entire incident, and we will continue serving our patients as always with love and care.”

Statement from American Nurses Association and Pennsylvania Nurses Association

Following the incident, the American Nurses Association (ANA) released the following statement regarding the behavior of the NP as well as the effects of the incident

“The behavior demonstrated by a white Nurse Practitioner (NP) at the Philadelphia Pregnancy Center towards an expectant Black mother in a widely shared video was unethical, unprofessional, and unacceptable. In a video recording from October 7, the NP was verbally disrespectful, aggressive, and accusatory, minimizing the patient’s dignity, integrity, and humanity. The NP’s behavior failed to adhere to basic nursing tenets including alleviating pain and providing nonjudgmental care. At its foundation, nursing must provide respectful and individualized care to all patients regardless of the patient’s personal characteristics, values, or beliefs. This is an ethical obligation for all nurses.

Black women are particularly vulnerable within the US health care system. These types of incidents highlight the bias, violence, and incivility that many expectant Black mothers experience. According to the CDC, Black women are nearly three times more likely than white women to die from maternal complications. The maternal health crisis for Black women far exceeds any other group. Contributing to this crisis are providers not listening to Black women because of bias and racism.

Nonjudgmental care requires that nurses recognize and manage biases that can be harmful to the nurse-patient relationship. The American Nurses Association and the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association strongly support bias education and encourages deep reflection to understand how personal experiences and background influence our nursing practice.”

Kathleen Gaines
Kathleen Gaines
News and Education Editor

Kathleen Gaines (nee Colduvell) is a nationally published writer turned Pediatric ICU nurse from Philadelphia with over 13 years of ICU experience. She has an extensive ICU background having formerly worked in the CICU and NICU at several major hospitals in the Philadelphia region. After earning her MSN in Education from Loyola University of New Orleans, she currently also teaches for several prominent Universities making sure the next generation is ready for the bedside. As a certified breastfeeding counselor and trauma certified nurse, she is always ready for the next nursing challenge.

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