A female doctor from the US state of Indiana died on Sunday from the effects of the coronavirus. Her death caused a lot because the hospital staff would not have taken her complaints seriously. “If I had been white, this wouldn’t have happened,” the woman stammered in a video she shot two weeks before her death. The images circulate en masse on social media.
Susan Moore (52) was admitted to a hospital in Carmel’s town in early December with breathing problems and a high fever. She was in a lot of pain and coughing up blood but said she had to “beg” for medicine and a lung scan.
Her attending physician would have dismissed her complaints. “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.”
After hours of insistence, Moore got a scan. It showed that there was indeed something wrong with her lungs. She urgently needed medication but had to wait hours for it.
At one point, the attending physician felt that Moore had gotten enough help. In fact, she was “healthy enough” to leave the hospital. “He made me feel like a drug addict,” sobs Moore, looking straight into the camera with a penetrating look. “This is how black people die. They are sent home and do not know how to stand up for themselves.”
Moore had no other option than to return home. Twelve hours later, however, things went wrong again. She developed a high fever also, and her blood pressure dropped rapidly. The woman demanded another hospital, where she was immediately put on a respirator. Two weeks after posting the video, she still died.
Moore’s unexpected death sparks disbelief and angry reactions in the United States. The discussion about medical care for patients is intensified. After all, research has long shown that black patients in the US receive worse care, especially in the field of pain management.
Figures from The Brookings Institution show that black people die from the coronavirus more than 3.5 times more often than white people. This is often due to lesser socio-economic conditions.
Other black doctors are baffled. “Doctor Susan Moore passed away today from Covid-19, but HOW she died is unacceptable,” tweeted Cleavon Gilman. “We lost another colleague to Covid-19 today,” added Carmen Brown. “But this doctor was mistreated. Her symptoms were ignored, downplayed, and dismissed. She posted a heartbreaking video begging her fellow doctors to help save her…”
The hospital expressed its condolences to the relatives and said it took the allegations of discrimination very seriously. No disclosures were made on the specific issue surrounding Moore. “We stand behind the commitment of our healthcare providers and the quality of care provided to our patients every day,” he said.
Moore leaves behind a 19-year-old son. Crowdfunding to pay for her funeral has already raised more than 115,000 dollars. “Susan was a phenomenal doctor,” the message reads. “She loved helping people. This fundraiser is to assist her family with immediate needs, which are currently housing and food, as she was the sole provider for her son and parents.”
Moore’s death is reminiscent of the death of 37-year-old Joyce Echaquan, a native Canadian woman who was laughed at and insulted by hospital staff in her final stages of life. The Quebec Prime Minister reacted fiercely, calling the nurses’ comments “unacceptable and racist.” One of them has since been fired.