Susan Moore, the patient, said the white doctor at the hospital in Indianapolis where she was being treated for Covid had downplayed her complaints of pain. He told her he felt uncomfortable giving her more narcotics, she said, and suggested that she would be discharged. “I was crushed,” she said in a posted to Facebook on December 7. “He made me feel like I was a drug addict.”
In her post, she also revealed she was a medical doctor. But that was not enough to get her treatment and respect she said she deserved. “I put forth and I maintain if I was white,” she said in the video, “I wouldn’t have to go through that.” She was sent home on December 7, and on Sunday, Moore, 52, died of complications from Covid, said her son, Henry Muhammed.
Moore’s case has generated outrage and renewed calls to grapple with biased medical treatment of black patients. Voluminous research suggests that black patients often receive treatment inferior to their white counterparts, particularly when it comes to relieving pain. A spokesperson for Indiana University Health, the hospital system where Moore was admitted, said he could not comment on specific cases because of privacy laws.
A mix of socioeconomic and health factors have made Covid particularly 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.
Moore wrote that she had to beg the physician treating her to give her remdesivir. She also said she was left in pain for hours before a nurse gave her the opioid pain medication. “This is how black people get killed, when you send them home and they don’t know how to fight for themselves,” Moore said in her post.