Black doctor dies of COVID after alleged ill-treatment in hospital: “This is how black people are killed”

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Lying in a hospital bed in pain to breathe despite being on oxygen, Dr.Susan Moore, a 52-year-old black doctor, looked into her cell phone and recorded a video alleging that her battle with COVID-19 had been made worse by treatment she received from a doctor at a suburban hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana.

“This is how black people are killed. When you send them home and they don’t know how to fight for themselves, ”Moore said in the Dec. 4 video she posted to her Facebook page at Indiana University Health North Hospital in Carmel . Indiana, his hometown. “I had to talk to someone, maybe the media, to let people know how I am being treated here.

“I have argued, and maintain, that if I were white I wouldn’t have to go through this,” Moore, who tested positive for COVID in late November, said in her Facebook post. She added that she no longer trusted the hospital and asked to be transferred.

Blacks have also been disproportionately affected and have died more from the coronavirus than their white counterparts. A Brookings Institution analysis released earlier this year showed that blacks with COVID died 3.6 times more than whites.

An ABC News survey released in April found that blacks in coronavirus hotspots are twice as likely to die from the disease as their white counterparts.

Moore’s 19-year-old son Henry Muhammed told ABC News his mother tested positive for COVID on November 29 and visited IU North because she had already been to the hospital and that he was close to his home.

He said his mother was released on December 7, but only stayed home for 12 hours before she had to call an ambulance to transport her to another hospital. Moore wrote on her Facebook page that when she was admitted to Ascension-St. Vincent Hospital in Carmel, his temperature had climbed to 103 degrees and his blood pressure fell to 80/60. Normal blood pressure is usually 120/80.

Her son said that although her mother received significantly better treatment, her health gradually deteriorated and she was placed on a ventilator. She died at 1 a.m. on Sunday, he said.

“I was hoping that when I got there she would still be alive, but when they opened those intensive care doors and told me she was dead… I was almost hyperventilating. He told ABC News. “I was just like, ‘Mom, I love you, mom. I love you.’ And I just prayed and hoped that she was all right in Heaven, that she was better and that she was at peace. ”

Muhammed said he is angry with the treatment his mother claims to have received at IU North Health.

“I am outraged beyond words… because if what my mother thought was true and it was racism, and they neglected her because of it, no one should go through this. It puts the phrase “I can’t breathe” to a whole new context, “he said.

“My mother was legitimately very scared. I haven’t seen my mother who was scared for a long, long time. She was concerned about the doctor’s lack of empathy. She didn’t feel like the doctor cared about her or her health, or whether she was better or not, ”he said, adding that his mother called him every day from the IU North hospital, often in pain and in tears. “She thought about it like the doctor wanted her out of the hospital as soon as possible and she was very worried about it. ”

In an email to ABC News, a spokesperson for IU North Health said of Dr Moore: “We are very sad to hear of his passing. ”

“IU North respects and maintains patient privacy and cannot comment on any particular patient, medical history or conditions,” the hospital said in a statement. “As an organization committed to equity and the reduction of racial disparities in health care, we take accusations of discrimination very seriously and investigate every allegation.

The statement went on to say, “Treatment options are often agreed upon and reviewed by medical experts from various specialties, and we maintain the commitment and expertise of our caregivers and the quality of care provided to our patients every day. ”

Muhammed said he and his family had not decided to take legal action against IU North, but were exploring their options for redress.

“I was his only child. My mother and I were very close. I told him everything. She wasn’t just my mom, she was kind of my best friend. And she was always there to support me along the way, ”he said. . “It’s a really tough loss. It’s incalculable how much of a loss it is. You cannot measure how much my mother means to me. It is really disturbing to know that she is gone.

He said his mother was also the primary caregiver for his parents, both of whom have dementia. He said he was now taking care of his grandparents.

“They asked about him. I tried to tell them that she was dead and… they don’t always remember, ”he said.

He said his mother decided to become a doctor after first working as an engineer. She graduated from the University of Michigan medical school in 2001, Muhammed said.

“I was born three months before she got her medical degree,” Muhammed said.

He said they moved to Indiana when he was in high school because his mother found a job there as a visiting doctor. He said she eventually established her own family practice in Peru, Indiana, about 60 miles north of their hometown.

“She always did things for others, even almost wrongly,” he says. “She was just a nice caregiver. The work of doctor she had, she could not have found a better job. Her passion and her ability to take care of others was my mother.

That’s why, he says, it infuriates her to think about how she would have been treated by people in her own profession, during the most difficult times of her life. He also said it scares him of other black people with COVID who aren’t doctors and may not know how to defend themselves.

“All of these thousands of people, all of these people, I’m scared for them and I hope this will inspire change,” he said. “We can’t have that in society. We need to hold the medical community accountable for this. ”

He said he had yet to watch the video his mother posted on Facebook from the hospital.

“Hearing my mother’s voice and seeing her… it’s hard,” he said. “It brings back all that I miss about her. ”

What to know about the coronavirus:

  • How it started and how to protect yourself: Coronavirus explained
  • What to do if you have symptoms: Symptoms of the coronavirus
  • Tracking the spread in the United States and around the world: Coronavirus Map
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