On Dec. 20 of last year, Dr. Susan Moore died from COVID-19 complications just weeks after she posted a viral Facebook video in which she complained that her doctor and the staff at Indiana University North Hospital dismissed her pain, refused her adequate care and failed to believe that she knew what care she needed as if she wasn’t a whole family medicine physician who had practiced medicine in Indiana since 2009. On Wednesday, an investigation concluded that while Moore received care that was lacking in “empathy and compassion,” her treatment at the hospital didn’t contribute to her death.
The Chicago Tribune reports that a “panel of six outside experts” who reviewed Moore’s case determined that she “suffered from a lack of cultural competence on the part of those treating her at IU Health North.” IU Health acknowledged in a statement that Moore was shown a “lack of empathy and compassion” at the hospital, but since the statement didn’t include any specifics regarding said “lack of empathy and compassion,” we’ll just start with what The Root has previously reported:
In a now viral video posted to Facebook, Moore shared her experience, documenting her positive coronavirus diagnosis on November 29, untimely discharge, and her eventual return back to the hospital. She noted that she had to beg her physician to treat her with the antiviral drug remdesivir as well as a CT scan of her neck and chest due to all the pain she was feeling. The doctor however, initially declined to do both and instead questioned Moore’s symptoms and suggested she should be discharged instead. The doctor would eventually oblige but only after medical tests revealed Moore did indeed have new pulmonary infiltrates in her lungs that warranted necessary and immediate attention.
“I put forth, and I maintain, if I was white, I wouldn’t have to go through that,” Moore said in her video. “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.”
“We owe it to our patients to always show up for them, to treat them with dignity and respect, to appreciate their perspectives, and to validate their feelings when they are in our care,” IU Health CEO Dennis Murphy said in a statement, the Tribune reports. “We did not live up to these values with Dr. Moore and acknowledge that we have more to do to become a more diverse, inclusive and anti-racist health system.”
I’m going to be honest: While I’m no medical expert and I clearly am not privy to how the investigation into Moore’s death was conducted or what the findings were, I gotta say all of these statements of acknowledgment that Moore received substandard treatment by hospital staff that “did not live up to” their responsibility to provide adequate care, seem to directly contradict the assessment that Moore’s death was nobody’s fault.
Mind you, Murphy is the same guy who, days after Moore’s death, appeared to suggest in a press release that the nursing staff who cared for Moore were likely “intimidated by a knowledgeable patient who was using social media to voice her concerns and critique the care they were delivering.”
So basically, Dr. Moore daring to complain publicly about receiving substandard treatment might have led to her receiving substandard treatment—got it.
Murphy told the Indianapolis Business Journal that no staff members will be fired behind Moore’s treatment (or lack thereof). He said that a handful of staff members will be placed on administrative leave while they receive diversity training—the standard wypipo response to dealing with all things racist—before returning to the job. According to the hospital, the training is meant “to enhance compassion, encourage empathy and facilitate an optimal patient experience.”
Hopefully, it also trains so-called medical professionals to believe Black women.
This shit is ridiculous.