INDIANAPOLIS — The death of Indiana doctor Susan Moore is attracting national attention and calls for accountably, after the physician and black woman posted about the poor treatment she received while battling COVID-19.
Moore was a patient at IU Health North in Carmel. In Facebook video, Moore describes an exchange she had with her doctor when he tried to send her home. "At that time, I had only received two treatments of Remdesivir. He says, 'Aww you don't need it. You're not even short of breath.' I said, 'yes I am!" Moore said.
Dr. Moore journaled her stay at IU Health through updates on Facebook, eventually posting that after several complaints her treatment from hospital staff did improve and she was feeling better. Doctors then sent her home, but 12-hours later Moore posted she was going back to the hospital. This time to St. Vincent hospital, where she died days later. Moore made it clear she believed she received poor treatment at IU Health because she was black.
"I was crushed. He made me feel like I was a drug addict, and he knew I was a physician. I maintain that if I was white, I wouldn't have to go through that," Moore said.
Dr. Moore is the second Indiana doctor to make headlines after dying in a hospital. The other is doctor Chaniece Wallace, a pediatrician, who died after having a baby in October.
"This forces us to think about how many Black women are dying that we just don't know about. How many Black women are asking for pain medication? How many Black women are saying doctor this is what's going on in my body and I need help and are being ignored?" said Alexis Tardy.
Tardy is a minister and organizer with the social justice group "Call and Response." They're petitioning for accountability and justice for both Dr. Moore and Dr. Wallace, while also hoping to shine light on old medical misconceptions that African-Americans have a higher tolerance for pain than their white counterparts.
"Ethically we need to speak to our system that is producing the circumstances where these two Black women have died. There's something seriously wrong that needs to be addressed, and if that needs to come out as a firing then fine," Tardy said.
IU Health President and CEO Dennis Murphy issued this statement to WRTV Friday:
When I released a statement on December 24thregarding Dr. Susan Moore’s treatment at one of our hospitals, I intended to reassure our community of IU Health’s commitment to take her concerns seriously and investigate them fairly, consistent with our values of compassion, excellence and purpose. Since then, I’ve come to recognize that the words I chose did not reflect my intent, which is to prevent anything like this from happening again.
The situation Dr. Moore described is deeply troubling. Our hearts go out to her family and friends as they mourn her loss, and we mourn alongside them. IU Health is an organization committed to our values and we will ensure we fully understand what happened while Dr. Moore was in our care. We will identify and address any breakdowns in our commitment to providing appropriate and compassionate care, as well as communication and processes that occurred.
In addition to an ongoing internal investigation into all aspects of her care, IU Health is conducting a third-party independent review of her case, as well as our overall patient care protocols and procedures, led by outside healthcare and diversity experts. Whatever the findings, we will own the results and take whatever action is needed to uphold our commitment to equity and racial justice for our patients. And we will earnestly and humbly seek ongoing feedback from our patients, staff, partners and local communities on our progress.