By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
(EDITOR’S NOTE: You can make a donation to the GoFundMe campaign set up for Dr. Moore’s funeral costs and expenses for her 19-year-old son and elderly parents. As of this writing, the campaign has raised more than $162,000.)
The disparities in health care treatment for African Americans extend not only to the millions of underserved patients in U.S. hospitals and medical facilities but also, sadly, to frontline healthcare professionals.
Just weeks after Dr. Susan Moore, an African American physician, posted a video that showed the world how her doctor, who is White, downplayed her complaints of pain and discomfort, she died of complications from COVID-19.
Many say that Moore’s plight illustrates the healthcare industry’s institutional biases and inherent systemic racism. A pattern of operation, care and treatment that has only exacerbated the disproportionate susceptibility to the virus faced by African Americans.
Others are skeptical of both of the newly approved vaccines.
“Dr. Susan Moore knew all the fancy terms and treatment nuances when she was struggling with COVID-19 in the hospital. Yet, the doctor treating her was dismissive, and it felt to her like only one thing mattered to him: That she was Black. Dr. Moore died Sunday [December 20],” New York Times Journalist John Eligon wrote on Twitter.
Dr. Susan Moore knew all the fancy terms & treatment nuances when she was struggling with Covid19 in the hospital. Yet the doctor treating her was dismissive & it felt to her like only 1 thing mattered to him: That she was Black. Dr. Moore died Sunday. https://t.co/P7EctbDSrn
— John Eligon (@jeligon) December 24, 2020
Eligon wasn’t the only person to express outrage.
“Today, I want to speak out on behalf of a fellow Black woman physician, Dr. Susan Moore, not to let our stories go unheard,” Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo of Long Island Jewish Hospital in New York stated.
“Sadly, while so many have fallen victim, her story is marred by systemic racism, even as a doctor.”
Indeed, in her last moments, Dr. Moore had complained about her treatment.
“He made me feel like a drug addict,” she said of the physician who downplayed her complaints of pain and suggested she be discharged from the hospital.
Dr. Moore was admitted to the Indiana University North Hospital in Carmel, Indiana.
In a December 4 Facebook video, Dr. Moore offered her complaints to the public.
She said that she only received medication after tests proved her initial complaints upon arriving at the hospital.
“I put forth, and I maintain, if I was White, I wouldn’t have to go through that,” Moore said in her video after explaining that her doctor only agreed to give her pain medication after a CT scan revealed new pulmonary infiltrates.
“And that man never came back and apologized.”
Dr. Moore continued:
“I don’t trust this hospital, and I’m asking to be transferred. These people wanted to send me home with new pulmonary infiltrates and all kinds of lymphadenopathy in my neck.
“This is how Black people get killed. When you send them home, and they don’t know how to fight for themselves. I have to talk to somebody, maybe the media, somebody, to let people know how I’m being treated up in this place.”
Dr. Moore updated her post later, noting that she had spoken to the hospital’s healthcare system’s chief medical officer, and her pain was finally being “properly managed.”
She said that the CMO “stated that there will be some diversity training” and that they were “working on” getting an apology from her doctor.
After her discharge, Dr. Moore shared an update.
“I was home for less than 12 hours,” Dr. Moore wrote.
“Spiked a temperature of 103, and my blood pressure plummeted to 80/60 with a heart rate of 132. I’m back in the hospital, a different hospital Saint Vincent Carmel.”
“Those people were trying to kill me. Clearly, everyone has to agree they discharged me way too soon. They are now treating me for bacterial pneumonia as well as COVID pneumonia. I am getting very compassionate care. They are offering me pain medicine.”
In her final update, Dr. Moore said she was being transferred to the ICU and was on a BiPAP machine to help her breathe.
“Dr. Susan Moore, a physician, residing in Indianapolis, experienced an untimely death,” the GoFundMe campaign states. “She had been fighting COVID for the past few weeks. She leaves a son who is 19 years old and her parents, both of which have dementia. The son is dealing with both situations at this time and is in good spirits.”
“Susan was a phenomenal doctor,” the campaign added. “She loved practicing medicine, she loved being a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., she loved helping people, and she was unapologetic about it.”