A film investigating the causes and effects of uterine fibroids, a reproductive health epidemic predominant among black women, through the lens of a childless patient who nearly lost her life from the disease. As she seeks answers before her biological clock stops ticking, she meets other diagnosed women with inconceivable stories about their survival who all want to know why so little is being done to understand the disease and stop the spread.
Uterine Fibroids are benign tumors that grow on, around or inside the uterus. Often appearing in multiples, fibroids can cause infertility, severe anemia, miscarriage and lessen a woman’s quality of life significantly through traumatic symptoms. Over 171 million women across the world have uterine fibroid tumors, including the 26 million fibroid patients diagnosed in the U.S.
For Erica, uterine fibroid tumors nearly ended her life. Her diagnosis in 2008 would mark the beginning of fifteen years of treatments, surgeries, pain, endometriosis, cysts, infertility, miscarriage and alarmingly, the Intensive Care Unit.
RED ALERT is a 90-minute personal documentary primarily based upon the reproductive health trauma of filmmaker, Erica L. Taylor. Video footage, medical records, pre and post-op surgical footage has been collected as part of the Director’s personal journey and 15-year struggle with uterine fibroid tumors. We follow her documented fibroid journey over time as she lives through the emotional and physical effects of this debilitating reproductive disease. We follow her as she undergoes multiple treatments for fibroids and survives the repercussions from years of invasive surgeries. After being told by multiple doctors that a hysterectomy was her only option at 32 years old, Erica makes the conscious decision to fight her prognosis and seek out deeper explanations from qualified professionals for this devastating illness that has chosen to invade her body.
The fight quickly turns into a lesson on race and gender inequity in American healthcare and the potential biases in government healthcare spending. Fueled by her battle through infertility, Erica is determined to ring the alarm about this epidemic that affects over 80% of black women by age 50. The audience is taken through the very real experience of her multiple miscarriages and surgical procedure. Through her crew’s multiple interviews with other fibroid survivors, viewers will be alarmed at the many lives this illness continues to affect and the damage caused by symptoms and invasive treatments.
We examine the doctor-patient relationship dating back to the pre-civil war era when slave women were treated without anesthesia by the ‘father of gynecology,’ and compare that period with patient interactions in today’s exam rooms.
The film seeks to answer questions like, why is there no known cause for uterine fibroids or the ‘sibling diseases’ like endometriosis, conditions that millions of women suffer from all over the world? Also, why are more invasive or permanently damaging treatment options more commonly prescribed, especially to women of color?
In the U.S., over a half-million fibroid-related hysterectomies are performed annually, yet only $17 million has been allocated for fibroid research, putting it in the bottom 50 of almost 300 funded conditions, even though the direct and indirect medical costs related to fibroids amount to an estimated $35 billion each year in the U.S. alone.
RED ALERT is a film that will positively change the way we address the reproductive health of all women, and particularly black women. By presenting and pursuing the stories of diagnosed women and seeking answers about past and current research from accredited physicians and scientists, we will uncover truths and dispel myths about fibroid tumors, with hopes to bridge the communication gap between physicians and patients and end the silent suffering of women worldwide.
The film will present the newest research from accredited scientists supported by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Mayo Clinic, the University of Chicago, Northwestern University School of Medicine, Harvard University, University of Michigan, the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology and others.