A Black doctor who died of coronavirus after weeks of battling the virus said she was mistreated and delayed proper care at a Carmel hospital because of her race.
In response, the president and CEO of the health system that stands accused is calling for an external review of the late doctor’s experience.
Dr. Susan Moore, 52, died Dec. 20 following multiple hospitalizations for complications from COVID-19, first at IU Health North and later at Ascencion-St. Vincent in Carmel.
Her frustrations with the care provided at IU Health were chronicled on Facebook in multiple updates. The first came Dec. 4, when she said delays in her treatment and diagnosis were motivated by the color of her skin.
In a 7 ½-minute video posted to her Facebook page, Moore described frustrating back-and-forths with Dr. Eric Bannec, a white hospitalist with the IU Health system.
She described having her complaints of severe neck pain disregarded, despite drawing from her years of medical expertise to make a self-assessment.
“I was crushed,” a tearful Moore said of Bannec’s refusal to provide her pain medication. “He made me feel like I was a drug addict. And he knew I was a physician. I don’t take narcotics. I was hurting.”
She said she had to plead with and convince her physician she was having trouble breathing before receiving a CT scan. When the scan revealed that what she was saying was true, she was given medication to manage her pain. But only after hours of waiting.
“I put forth and I maintain,” she said in the video, “if I was white, I wouldn’t have to go through that.”
From her hospital bed, Moore, who is remembered as someone who loved helping others, said she was speaking out so that the treatment she endured would not be overlooked.
“This is how Black people get killed, when you send them home and they don’t know how to fight for themselves,” she said into the camera. “I had to talk to somebody, maybe the media, somebody, to let people know how I’m being treated up in this place.”
After being sent home, Moore was back in a hospital bed within 12 hours, according to her Facebook updates. This time she was being treated at Ascencion-St. Vincent in Carmel, and was experiencing better care.
Shortly after being discharged from IU Health on Dec. 7, Moore said she experienced a spike in temperature and a drop in her blood pressure.
“Those people were trying to kill me. Clearly everyone has to agree they (discharged) me way too soon,” she wrote of IU Health before giving an assessment of her care at Ascencion-St. Vincent. “They are now treating me for a bacterial pneumonia as well as Covid pneumonia. I am getting very compassionate care. They are offering me pain medicine.”