An Indiana doctor died of COVID-19 complications just weeks after reporting racial abuse on behalf of the hospital.
The New York Times reports that Dr. Susan Moore, a black doctor, was denied proper care and questioned about her pain by her white doctor while in hospital at Indiana University North Hospital. In a now viral video posted on Facebook, Moore shared his experience, documenting his positive diagnosis of coronavirus on November 29, premature discharge and his eventual return to the hospital. She noticed that she had to beg her doctor to treat her with the antiviral remdesivir, as well as a CT scan of her neck and chest due to all the pain she was feeling. The doctor, however, initially refused to do both and instead questioned Moore’s symptoms and suggested that she should be discharged. The doctor would eventually attend, but only after medical examinations revealed that Moore actually had new pulmonary infiltrates in his lungs that justified the necessary and immediate attention.
“I defended, and I maintain, if I were white, I wouldn’t have to go through this,” said Moore in his video. “I don’t trust this hospital and I’m asking to be transferred. These people wanted to send me home with new lung infiltrates and all kinds of lymphadenopathy in the neck. That’s how black people are killed. When you send them home and they don’t know how to fight for themselves. I have to talk to someone, maybe the media, someone, so that people know how I’m being treated in this place. “
Unfortunately for Moore, this was not the first time that she had to be her own advocate for her health. Nor is it the first time that racial health disparities, particularly with regard to Black and brown communities and the coronavirus, were put on display.
From The New York Times:
She was no stranger to the challenges of obtaining adequate medical care, said Muhammed, her 19-year-old son. She had sarcoidosis, an inflammatory disease that attacks the lungs and was often treated in hospitals. “Almost every time she went to the hospital, she had to defend herself, fight for something in some way, shape or form, just to get a baseline, adequate care,” he said.
Dr. Moore’s case sparked outrage and renewed calls to fight biased medical treatment of black patients. Massive research suggests that black patients often receive less treatment than their white counterparts, especially when it comes to relieving pain. “It had a huge impact,” said Dr. Christina Council, a primary care physician in Maryland who is black, about Moore’s experience. “Sometimes, when we think about medical prejudice, it seems so distant. We can sit there and say, ‘OK, that can happen to someone who may be poorer.’ But when you really see it happen with a colleague and you see her in the hospital bed and literally begging for her life, it hits differently and it really hits the house and says, ‘Wow, we need to do something.’ “
Before Moore’s death, she revealed that she had expressed her concerns to the medical director of the hospital system, who then promised better care and a new doctor. Although things were starting to get better, Moore still felt he was not getting the best care possible. On December 7, after being discharged, she was admitted back to a different hospital less than 12 hours later, where she was treated for bacterial pneumonia and Covid-19 pneumonia. She would eventually succumb to these complications weeks later.
AN GoFundMe Campaign was created to cover the funeral costs for Moore’s son and elderly parents who suffer from dementia. “Susan was a phenomenal doctor,” says the campaign. “She loved to practice medicine, she loved being a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, she loved helping people and she didn’t apologize for that.”
“This fundraising campaign aims to meet the family’s immediate needs, which are currently housing and food, since she was the sole provider for her son and parents. This page will be updated as more needs arise, including funeral expenses, moving expenses and extra expenses. “