Indiana hospital reacts to Black doctor dying of virus after claims of racism
In a statement to the Grio, Indiana University Health Hospital responded to abuse claims, as Dr. Susan Moore was treated in the days before her death
As the coronavirus pandemic took off around the world, it became clear that while the virus disregarded borders, it affected people of color, especially blacks, more than other groups. Brookings Institution research on COVID-19 has found it to be the third leading cause of death among black Americans.
The virus hit the medical community hard in the early days, as health professionals were among the myriad of people to contract the deadly virus. Dr. Susan Moore, a black medical doctor, died of COVID complications on December 20 at the age of 52.
Read more: Black ambulance banned from hospital after tweet about lack of beds in intensive care unit
While treating the virus, Dr. Moore referred to what she termed abuse by hospital staff, and attributed that abuse to being a black woman.
Moore posted on Facebook in December both the progress and ultimately the shortcomings of her experience with the virus and treatment in the Indiana University Health hospital system. The last video came on December 4th when she announced that hospital staff had tried to send her home.
"This is the way black people get killed if you send them home and they don't know how to fight for themselves," Moore said in the video. I also added, "I had to speak to someone, maybe the media, someone, to let people know how I was being treated in this place."
Moore was diagnosed with the virus on November 29 and was later hospitalized. However, she said she had to seek treatment from a white doctor in the hospital, and the constant appeals to the patient's attorney had gone unattended. When doctors finally tested Moore, they found new damage to her lungs, but kept her waiting for hours to get pain medication.
Dr. Susan Moore also spoke out against racism in her video, which she says came from hospital workers.
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“And this nurse said to me, 'Oh, I marched into Black Lives Matter,' said Moore. 'I said to her,' No, I don't believe any of this. Not a bit. Not an iota. You wouldn't even know how to marches. Probably can't even spell it. "
Later in the video, Moore overheard him say, "I said so, and I say if I knew I wouldn't have to go through this," she said. "And this man never came back and apologized."
Moore's death after documenting her quality of care in the hospital was outraged online.
Moore's viral video outraged other black health professionals who were quick to come to their defense. In an Instagram post from Dr. Charis Chambers reported Moore's death to a gynecologist. Dr. Chambers noted that Moore was mistreated, discharged, and admitted to another hospital, but by the time she received adequate care it was too late.
Dr. Cleavon Gilman from New York tweeted, “Dr. Susan Moore died of COVID today, but how she died is unacceptable. "
Dr. Camern Brown added in a tweet, "I'm pissed off that she didn't have to die like this, her pain was dismissed, she had to stand up for herself and was still ignored."
Notes appeared on Facebook from family members like this one from Taunya Henderson, who identified herself as Moore's cousin. Henderson said Moore left behind a 19-year-old son and aging parents who were all the sole caregivers. A GoFundMe has been set up to help the family due to Moore's untimely death.
Indiana University Health Hospital said in a statement to theGrio, "We are very sad to hear of your death." IU Health respects and protects patient privacy and is unable to comment on any particular patient, medical history or conditions. "
The hospital also responded to the racism allegation. "As an organization promoting equity and the reduction of racial differences in health care," continued Berkley Rios of the Indiana University Health Indianapolis Suburban Region regional public relations and social media division. "We take allegations of discrimination very seriously and investigate every allegation."
Moore's 19-year-old son Henry Muhammed confirmed his mother had died of COVID-19 complications for the New York Times. "Almost every time she went to the hospital, she had to stand up for herself, fight for something of some kind, just to get basic and proper care," said Muhammed.
His mother also had sarcoid, an inflammatory disease that affects the lungs and was often treated in hospitals.
Jamaica-born immigrant Moore grew up in Michigan, where she graduated from Kettering University in Flint with an engineering degree. She received her medical degree from the University of Michigan Medical School.
Kelsey Minor is a 2x Emmy Award winning freelance journalist based in New York City. You can follow his work on Twitter @theKELSEYminor.
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The Indiana hospital responds to a black doctor's death from viruses after allegations of racism first surfaced on TheGrio.
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