Last week, we reported that after making a social media post about being mistreated by hospital medical staff, a Black doctor died due to the coronavirus.
According to CBS News, Dr. Susan Moorendied on December 20 due to complications from COVID-19 at an Indiana hospital. She passed about two weeks after she posted the video on her Facebook page, speaking on how she was being mistreated by hospital staff.
After the news of her death made the rounds in news reports, Dennis M. Murphy, who is president and CEO at Indiana University Health, released a statement regarding the incident that took place at the hospital. In that statement, he alluded to the hospital staff being “intimidated by a knowledgeable patient” in terms of how she felt she wasn’t getting proper treatment. She took to social media to state that she felt racism was playing a part in her being mistreated.
“After receiving two infusions of the Remdesivir Dr. Bannec said I don’t qualify, I’m not short of breath, he doesn’t know why my neck hurts and he doesn’t feel comfortable giving me any narcotics. All I can do is cry I was in so much pain. He said you can just go home right now. Of note, he did not even listen to my lungs he didn’t touch me in any way. He performed no physical exam. I told him you cannot tell me how I feel.”
In response to her criticism of the hospital and its medical staff, Murphy responded by stating:
“It hurt me personally to see a patient reach out via social media because they felt their care was inadequate and their personal needs were not being heard. I also saw several human perspectives in the story she told – that of physicians who were trying to manage the care of a complex patient in the midst of a pandemic crisis where the medical evidence on specific treatments continues to be debated in medical journals and in the lay press. And the perspective of a nursing team trying to manage a set of critically ill patients in need of care who may have been intimidated by a knowledgeable patient who was using social media to voice her concerns and critique the care they were delivering. All of these perspectives comprise a complex picture. At the end of the day, I am left with the image of a distressed patient who was a member of our own profession—one we all hold dear and that exists to help serve and better the lives of others. These factors make this loss doubly distressing.”
And, in what seems to be a reference to any racial bias at the hospital, Murphy also writes:
“Over the last several years, I have pledged to promote racial justice and resist discrimination of any kind at IU Health. My commitment to this pledge is reinforced as I repeatedly think about Dr. Moore’s voice. I also have listened to the voices and experiences of our team members and patients of color over the past year. They have shared experiences of discrimination by patients, families and colleagues. They also shared their hopes for how IU Health could model for others how to be a more diverse, inclusive and just organization. Dr. Moore’s public sharing of her experience is a sentinel moment to accelerate our forward movement. This tragedy will not become a statistic in the COVID-19 crisis and it will serve as a marker of material improvements for patients of color.”