Four Black women physicians write op-ed in remembrance of Dr. Susan Moore
“If a physician can’t be heard by her own peers to save her life, then who will listen?“
Black physicians have been voicing their sadness and outrage online in light of Dr. Susan Moore’s death, who raised attention towards racial treatment as a patient.
In an op-ed for The Washington Post, four Black women physicians echoed their anger and amplified Moore’s dying message to address racism in the health system.
The physicians include Aletha Maybank, chief health equity officer at the American Medical Association, Camara Phyllis Jones, family physician, epidemiologist and former president of the American Public Health Association; Uche Blackstock, founder and CEO of Advancing Medical Health Equity, and Joia Crear Perry, president of the National Birth Equity Collaborative.
“COVID-19 has exposed the devastating realities of long-standing structural inequities experienced by Black and Brown people in this country. They are more likely than Whites to be infected, and more likely die,” the op-ed said.
Maybank, Jones, Blackstock, and Perry further emphasized that Moore’s experience was a “confirmation” that value is often assigned based on the color of your skin.
“That system has a name: racism. No matter how well-intentioned our health-care system is, it has not rooted out the false idea of a hierarchy of human valuation based on skin color and the false idea that, if there were such a hierarchy, “White” people would be at the top.”
In a video shared on Facebook, Moore documented her mistreatment by medical staff at Indiana University Health System on Dec. 4. theGrio reported that her fever spiked to 103 degrees after being sent home, and her blood pressure decreased. She was then admitted to Saint Vincent Carmel Hospital, where she said she received better treatment.
“Those people were trying to kill me. Clearly, everyone has to agree they discharge me way too soon,” Moore said in the video. “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.”
Moore sadly passed away on Dec. 20 from COVID complications at the age of 52.
The op-ed further explored the nuances and “white supremacist ideology” that has shaped the medical field’s values and practices, such as a 2016 study that Black people experience less pain than white people.
It notes the dark history of gynecology responsible for that belief, with Dr. J Marion performing vaginal surgical procedures on enslaved Black women without the use of anesthesia.
This pointed to one of Moore’s cries for help when seeking pain medication from her doctor.
“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,” Moore shared.
On Twitter, Jones noted her, as well as the other doctors, knew that “it could have just as easily been us. We might be next. Anti-racism is the cure.”
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