Sunday, March 22, 2009

News: Medical Racism

From The Boston Herald:

A patient alleges racism in a hospital's handling of a botched surgery and the lax investigation that followed. Here are excerpts from his letter that appeared in the Herald:

My name is Michael K. Hicks and on June 27, 2008, I had a liposuction and breast reduction procedure at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center by Dr. Loren Borud.

This is a high-profile case because of the allegations that Dr. Borud was impaired while doing my surgery.The Department of Public Health conducted what they claimed to be a full investigation and cleared Beth Israel of any wrongdoing. However, the DPH did not interview Dr. Loren Borud, the lead plastic surgeon; they did not interview me the victim; nor did they interview Dr. Eran Bar-Meir, who is the fellow surgeon that put me back together the best way he knew how.


Three days after my surgery, another surgeon at Beth Israel Deaconess operated on a white woman on whom a wrong-side surgery (orthopedic surgery) occurred. Beth Israel Deaconess apologized to her immediately after she awoke from surgery. They even made the statement public and did everything right and respectfully for the white woman, and gave her dignity. In my case, they sent me home the same day of the surgery without a doctor even seeing me. What was different about Michael Hicks? I am African-American, and to Beth Israel I am a Negro. My life is worth absolutely nothing to them. It is apparent my civil rights are being violated by Paul Dreyer, Beth Israel Deaconess and the Department of Public Health.

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Go read the full letter, and then leave a comment on what you think. Does he have a case?

1 comment:

Denis Navratil said...

I didn't read the whole letter but here is my take: Unfortunately, people in the medical profession, perhaps all professions, have a tendency to protect their own members. A botched plastic surgery allows for a measure of deniability while operating on the wrong limb does not. Thus, a hospital has no choice but to come clean on the wrong limb mistake. Conversely, there are incentives (law suits primarily) to minimize or negotiate etc.. on the other matter. While these reactions by the medical profession differ considerably, I have offered an explanation that has nothing to do with the race of the patient. Not everything that goes wrong for a black person (or any person), including injustices, necessarily has a racial explanation.