For Angelina Jolie, family has always come first. Her six children with ex-husband Brad Pitt may be older now, but the actress remains as hands-on as can be while continuing with her humanitarian work, taking on roles, and directing movies once more (she stopped for some time following her divorce). The Oscar winner has even been known to take her children along on location when she’s working on films, taking shopping trips and other outings with the family when she’s not on set.
And while Jolie’s young brood is usually out and about nowadays, fans may recall that the actress had to deal with some medical issues involving her daughters Zahara and Shiloh just a few years ago. The issue even seemed serious enough that both girls required surgery.
What Zahara And Shiloh Jolie Pitt Had Surgery For
It was back in March 2020 when Jolie revealed that her two daughters had to undergo medical procedures recently. In an article she wrote for Time in celebration of International Women’s Day, the actress explained that she had “spent the last two months in and out of surgeries” with her girls and that she has decided to write about it after both Zahara and Shiloh agreed to make this information public.
“They know that I am writing this, because I respect their privacy, and we discussed it together, and they encouraged me to write,” Jolie wrote. “They understand that going through medical challenges and fighting to survive and heal is something to be proud of.” And while it was revealed that Shiloh went under the knife because she needed hip surgery, the actress stayed mum about why Zahara also needed to undergo a surgical procedure.
That said, Jolie did give an insight into the relationship between the siblings, praising them for how well they supported each other during that difficult time.
“I have watched my daughters care for one another. My youngest daughter studied the nurses with her sister, and then assisted the next time,” the actress recalled. “I saw how all my girls so easily stopped everything and put each other first and felt the joy of being of service to those they love.”
Later on, Jolie was also pictured out with both Zahara and Shiloh. And while Zahara looked to be fully recovered by then, Shiloh was walking on crutches.
Angelina Jolie Noticed Racial Bias In Medical Care Following Zahara’s Surgery
A year later, Jolie also shared her experience in caring for her daughters after their surgeries. And as it turns out, it was also during this time that the actress realized that there is some inherent bias in medical care when it comes to people of color. While interviewing medical student Malone Mukwende who wrote the medical handbook Mind the Gap for Time, Jolie recalled her encounter with medical staff soon after Zahara’s surgery.
“Recently my daughter Zahara, whom I adopted from Ethiopia, had surgery, and afterward a nurse told me to call them if her skin ‘turned pink,’” the actress said. In response, Mukwende revealed that this type of bias had gone on for years.
“That’s the kind of thing I started to notice very early on. Almost the entirety of medicine is taught in that way. There’s a language and a culture that exists in the medical profession, because it’s been done for so many years and because we are still doing it so many years later it doesn’t seem like it’s a problem,” he told Jolie.
“However, like you’ve just illustrated, that’s a very problematic statement for some groups of the population because it’s just not going to happen in that way, and if you’re unaware you probably won’t call the doctor.”
As for Jolie, she’s long known that medical conditions may manifest differently among her children because of their diverse backgrounds. However, there has been little guidance for her children of color.
“I know when there was a rash that everybody got, it looked drastically different depending on their skin color,” the Oscar winner pointed out. “But whenever I looked at medical charts, the reference point was always white skin.”
Zahara Recovered Well And Is Going To College
Whatever her surgery was for, it does seem that Zahara fully recovered, with the help of her family, and is now preparing to go to college. Though it’s unknown whether the teen has an underlying medical condition or simply had a one-time procedure, it’s clear she has a bright future ahead.