Doctor Dies from Coronavirus After Saying Hospital Was Mistreating Her Because She Is Black
An Indiana doctor has died from complications of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) weeks after saying she was being mistreated.
Dr. Susan Moore, who was admitted to the Indiana University North Hospital, maintained she was not receiving adequate treatment in a Facebook video on December 4 that has since gone viral.
Moore said that despite telling her doctor that she was in pain, the medical staff treating her wanted to discharge her. She said that she only received medication after tests proved what she had been saying since she arrived at the hospital.
"I put forth, and I maintain, if I was white, I wouldn't have to go through that," Moore said in her video after explaining that her doctor only agreed to give her pain medication after a CT scan revealed new pulmonary infiltrates. "And that man never came back and apologized," she added of her doctor.
"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 kind of lymphadenopathy in my neck," Moore said, adding later in the video, "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."
In an update, Moore later shared on Facebook that she had spoken to the IU healthcare system's chief medical officer and her pain was finally being "properly managed." She said that the CMO "stated that there will be some diversity training" and that they were "working on" getting an apology from her doctor.
Moore was discharged and shared that she was at home in her own bed, before sharing yet another update that she had been admitted to a new hospital.
"I was home for less than 12 hours," Moore wrote on Facebook. "Spiked a temperature of 103 and my blood pressure plummeted to 80/60 with a heart rate of 132. I’m back in the hospital, a different hospital Saint Vincent Carmel.￼￼"
"Those people were trying to kill me," she added. "Clearly everyone has to agree they discharge me way too soon. They are now treating me for a bacterial pneumonia as well as Covid pneumonia. I am getting very compassionate care. They are offering me pain medicine."
Moore's final update before her death said that she was being transferred to the ICU and was on a BiPAP machine to assist her breathing.
"IU North respects and upholds patient privacy and cannot comment on a specific patient, their medical history or conditions," a spokesperson for IU said in a statement when reached by PEOPLE for comment Wednesday. "As an organization committed to equity and reducing racial disparities in healthcare, we take accusations of discrimination very seriously and investigate every allegation."
"Treatment options are often agreed upon and reviewed by medical experts from a variety of specialties, and we stand by the commitment and expertise of our caregivers and the quality of care delivered to our patients every day," the statement added.
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up for Moore's family for funeral costs and expenses for her 19-year-old son and elderly parents.
"Dr. Susan Moore, a physician residing in Indianapolis, experienced an untimely death," the GoFundMe campaign said. "She had been fighting COVID for the past few weeks. She leaves a son who is 19 yrs old and her parents, both of which have dementia. The son is dealing with both situations at this time and is in good spirits."
"Susan was a phenomenal doctor," the campaign added. "She loved practicing medicine, she loved being a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, she loved helping people, and she was unapologetic about it."
People of color are disproportionately more likely to die from COVID-19, Brookings reported in June.
"Structural factors including health care access, density of households, unemployment and types of employment, pervasive discrimination and others drive these disparities, not intrinsic characteristics of black or Latinx communities or individual-level factors," an amfAR study published earlier this year stated.
As of Wednesday, there have been more than 18.4 million cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., and at least 324,948 deaths related to the virus, according to data from the New York Times.
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