The Chicago surgeon, Dr. Nicole E. Williams, snapped a photo of a patient’s excised fibroids and posted it to Instagram on January 13, according to TMZ. In the photo, which has since been deleted and was published by TMZ, Williams flashed a Delta hand sign next to the balls of human tissue.
There were 22 fibroids — noncancerous growths that can develop in the uteri of childbearing women — of various sizes neatly lined up on the operating table beside her. The biggest one appeared to have blood on it.
Fibroids don’t always require surgery, but pain and bleeding associated with the masses may be cause for removal. Removing the uterus — called a hysterectomy — ensures that the fibroids are gone for good, but doctors will often opt to take out the fibroids while preserving the uterus if the patient wishes to have children in the future. The procedure, called a myomectomy, can be done through a small incision if there aren’t too many fibroids, according to Mayo Clinic.
According to Williams’ caption, which TMZ published, the photo was meant to celebrate the founding of Delta Sigma Theta, a primarily Black sorority formed at Howard University on the same day in 1913.
Williams wrote that 22 members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority broke off to form a new organization. Coincidentally, on the anniversary of the founding of DST, Williams removed 22 fibroids from an AKA member.
“This is TRUE. On the 109th anniversary of the founding of our beloved sisterhood, I removed 22 fibroids from an AKA!” she wrote in the caption.
Both DST and AKA are part of the “Divine Nine,” nine nationally known, historically Black fraternities and sororities.
After receiving some backlash and concerns about patient privacy in the comments section, Williams took the photo down and posted an apology to Instagram.
View this post on Instagram
“A terrible decision was made,” she wrote in the latest caption, beneath a black square. “I unequivocally and prayerfully apologize for any hurt I may have caused. It is my hope one day to live up to the high ideals that I have so damaged. The only thing I can do is to keep working hard in the future.”
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