A Black doctor who died of COVID-19 after weeks of battling the virus had said she was mistreated and delayed proper care at an Indiana hospital because of her race.
The Indiana hospital where a Black doctor died after saying she was being mistreated and denied proper medical care due to her race has released a statement regarding her allegations.
Dennis M. Murphy, who is president and CEO of Indiana University Health, said the hospital staff may have been nervous to work with Dr. Susan Moore because she knew about the care they were providing. “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,” he wrote. “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.”
He continued, “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.”
Dr. Moore was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Nov. 29. Sadly, she passed away less than month later after documenting her time at Indiana University North Hospital. She said she begged her doctor to prescribe her Remdesivir — a drug known to help patients recover from Coronavirus faster. The doctors allegedly dismissed her pains and symptoms and instead wanted to send her back home.
She also said that she was denied pain medicine for her intense neck pain. “… He doesn’t know why my neck hurts and he doesn’t feel comfortable giving me any narcotics,” she wrote in a post. “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!”
Dr. Moore requested to be transferred to another hospital, however, she was later sent home and then admitted into an intensive care unit at another hospital less than 12 hours later. She died on Dec. 20.
Murphy also said that he does not believe his team failed Dr. Moore while she was in the hospital, but believes their compassion and respect for her could have been better. He called for an external review into her allegations, which will be conducted by a diverse panel of healthcare professionals.
There really needs to be a larger conversation and action taken in this country in regards to how Black women experience treatment in the healthcare system. They are often undertreated and not listened to. Dr. Moore had asked to be transferred to another hospital, yet she was discharged only to die later. For the hospital administration to come out and say she intimidated the staff is disgusting, the disrespect of the Black woman is real. Prayers to her family during this difficult time.