Black doctor dies of Covid-19 after complaining of racist treatment

Dr. Susan Moore with her son Henry Muhammed. She said her complaints of pain were downplayed. PHOTO: NYTIMES

NEW YORK (NYTIMES) - In a hospital bed, the black patient gazed into her smartphone and complained of an experience all too common among black people in America.

Dr Susan Moore, the patient, said the white doctor at the hospital in Indianapolis where she was being treated for Covid-19 had downplayed her complaints of pain and suggested she would be discharged.

In her post, she showed a command of complicated medical terminology and an intricate knowledge of treatment protocols. She knew what to ask for because she, too, was a medical doctor.

But that was not enough to get her treatment and respect she said she deserved.

She was eventually sent home, and on Sunday (Dec 20), just more than two weeks after posting the video, Dr Moore, 52, died of complications from Covid-19, said her son, Mr Henry Muhammed.

Dr Moore's case has generated outrage and renewed calls to grapple with biased medical treatment of black patients.

A spokesperson for Indiana University Health, the hospital system where Dr Moore complained of poor treatment, said in a statement that he could not comment on specific cases because of privacy laws.

Covid-19 has been devastating for black and Latino communities.

Black people have died at 3.6 times the rate of white people, and Latinos at 2.5 times the rate of white people, according to an analysis by the Brookings Institution.

Dr Moore tested positive for Covid-19 on Nov 29 and was admitted to the hospital, according to her Facebook post, which she wrote on Dec 4.

She wrote that she had to beg the physician treating her to give her remdesivir, an drug some doctors use to treat Covid-19.

A native of Jamaica, Dr Moore grew up in Michigan.

According to her family, she earned her medical degree from the University of Michigan.

She was no stranger to the challenges of getting proper medical care, said Mr Muhammed, her son.

She had sarcoidosis, a disease that attacks the lungs, and was frequently treated at hospitals.

"Nearly every time she went to the hospital, she had to advocate for herself, fight for something in some way, shape or form, just to get baseline, proper care," he said.

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