A doctor posed with his patient’s fibroids for a sorority Instagram photo

  • A doctor who took over her sorority during surgery has faced criticism online.
  • Dr. Nicole E. Williams deleted an Instagram photo where she waved her Delta hand next to a patient’s removed fibroids.
  • The 22 fibroids were meant to represent the founders of the sorority, but Williams has since apologized for the post.

A doctor is coming under fire online for an unorthodox display of sisterhood spirit – in the operating room.

Chicago surgeon Dr. Nicole E. Williams took a photo of a patient’s excised fibroids and posted it to Instagram on Jan. 13, according to TMZ. In the photo, which has since been deleted and published by TMZ, Williams displayed a Delta hand sign next to the balls of human tissue.

There were 22 fibroids – non-cancerous growths that can develop in the womb of women of childbearing age – of varying sizes neatly lined up on the operating table next to her. The bigger one seemed to have blood on it.

Fibroids do not always require surgery, but the pain and bleeding associated with the masses can cause them to be removed. Removal of the uterus – called a hysterectomy – guarantees the permanent disappearance of the fibroids, but doctors often choose to remove the fibroids while preserving the uterus if the patient wishes to have children in the future. The procedure, called myomectomy, can be performed through a small incision if there aren’t too many fibroids, according to the Mayo Clinic.

According to Williams’ caption, published by TMZ, the photo was meant to celebrate the founding of Delta Sigma Theta, a mostly black sorority formed at Howard University on the same day in 1913.

Williams wrote that 22 members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority split off to form a new organization. Coincidentally, on the anniversary of DST’s founding, Williams removed 22 fibroids from an AKA member.

“It’s TRUE. On the 109th anniversary of the founding of our beloved fraternity, I removed 22 fibroids from an AKA!” she wrote in the caption.

DST and AKA are both part of the “Divine Nine”, nine nationally known historically black fraternities and sororities.

After receiving backlash and patient privacy concerns in the comments section, Williams took down the photo and posted an apology on Instagram.

A post shared by Nicole E. Williams, MD (@drnicolelife)

“A terrible decision has been made,” she wrote in the final caption, under a black square. “I unequivocally and prayerfully apologize for any harm I may have caused. I hope one day to live up to the high ideals that I have damaged so much. The only thing I can do is carry on to work hard in the future.”

Williams did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Jack C. Nugent