How a trip across the border inspired a doctor to fight for health care equality.

Disparities of patient treatment are real. It's time all doctors join efforts to help change that.

When Dr. Paula Aristizabal first started working in pediatric oncology, she was a little uneasy.

"I was scared because I didn’t know what to expect," Aristizabal explains. Even though cancer specialists have to assume they'll be treating people with a lower than average survival rate, knowing that all her patients would be children made it somewhat more daunting.

Fortunately, however, that was far from the experience Aristizabal ended up having.

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"I effectively bled to death in my own hospital," said Dr. Rana Awdish.

Dr. Rana Awdish. Photo from Henry Ford Hospital.

In 2008, Awdish was seven months pregnant and just finishing up her fellowship at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. On her last day, however, something suddenly went deeply wrong inside of her. She began to bleed into her abdomen — fast. Her body effectively crashed out. It took more than 26 units of blood products that night just to keep her alive. She would go through organ failure, respirators, even a stroke.

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You've just checked into the hospital. What's the first thing you have to do?

Take off your clothes, put them in a canvas bag, and put on an itchy old hospital gown, of course.

There are practical reasons (well, sometimes) for those hideous, unisex creations. But few people like wearing hospital gowns, and it might be about more than them just being ugly.

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