Dr. Susan Moore was a Black physician who said she was mistreated at an Indiana hospital and died after being diagnosed with COVID-19. Others on social media are questioning whether she would have been treated differently if she had been white. Moore died Sunday, December 20, due to coronavirus complications at age 52, her family and friends said on social media.
Moore posted a video on Facebook December 4, 2020, saying a doctor at Indiana University Health Hospital was attempting to discharge her too soon and she was initially denied narcotic pain medication. She said this was because of the color of her skin.
The hospital told Heavy it does not comment on individual patients, but issued a statement to the New York Post saying, “as an organization committed to equity and reducing racial disparities in healthcare, we take accusations of discrimination very seriously and investigate every allegation. Treatment options are often agreed upon and reviewed by medical experts from a variety of specialties, and we stand by the commitment and expertise of our caregivers and the quality of care delivered to our patients every day.”
Here’s what you need to know about Dr. Susan Moore:
Moore Was Diagnosed With COVID-19 November 29 & Died 3 Weeks Later
This is Dr. Susan Moore.
She posted a FB video reporting denial of adequate treatment for COVID-19 and pain management by white medical staff at @IU_Health and pleading for help.
She was discharged.
— Leah McElrath 🏳️🌈 (@leahmcelrath) December 22, 2020
Moore was diagnosed with the coronavirus after receiving a positive test result on November 29, 2020, she wrote on Facebook. She wrote a post saying she had to “beg” for Remdesivir, a drug used to shorten recovery time for COVID-19, and for a CT scan, which showed enlarged lymph nodes, fluid and infiltration in her lungs. The doctor previously told her the chest X-ray was normal, and said she did not qualify for Remdesivir after receiving two treatments, her post said. She further said she was initially denied narcotics for neck pain, but eventually received pain relief which she later said “helped tremendously.”
“Now, that is not how you treat patients, period,” she said in the video about her reported delay in receiving narcotic pain relievers. “So, I don’t trust this hospital, and I’m asking to be transferred.”
“This is how Black people get killed,” she continued later in the video. “When you send them home and they don’t know how to fight for themselves.”
She later spoke with the chief medical officer, she wrote in an update.
“He assures me that all my concerns will be addressed and that he will personally see that I get the best care possible,” she wrote.
In another update, she wrote that her care plan had been adjusted, and that “diversity training” was planned. She was later sent home but admitted to another hospital after less than 12 hours. Her final update said she was being transferred to the intensive care unit.
Dr. Omolara Uwemedimo of Melanin, Medicine & Motherhood in New York also shared Moore’s story on social media in the hours following her death.
“Sadly, while so many have fallen victim, her story is marred by systemic racism, even as a doctor,” Uwemedimo wrote.
3 weeks after her diagnosis, she is no longer with us and one can’t help but wonder whether the outcome would’ve been different, if she did not undergo repeated delays in care that were undoubtedly due to her being a Black woman, and the lack of respect & trust that we often face. These are the issues we face, as we give up so much to take care of patients, even in harm’s way, and when we find ourselves as patients, we are disrespected, devalued & dismissed. It cost Dr. Moore her life. Her medical degree did not save her from the racism that she endured while battling for her life. I pray that we learn from this tragedy, that we have seen far too many times before COVID and to this day. We must do better for Black women. Believe us. Trust us. Respect us.
Other Black doctors also spoke out on social media about Moore’s death. “Dr. Susan Moore died today from COVID, but HOW she died is unacceptable. She posted a video to Facebook from an Indiana hospital days before her death about mistreatment. ‘This is how Black people get killed when you send them home and they don’t know how to fight for themselves,'” Dr. Cleavon Gilman tweeted.
Dr. Carmen Brown tweeted, “We lost another doctor today to COVID. But this doctor was mistreated. Her symptoms were ignored, downplayed and dismissed. She posted a heartbreaking video begging her fellow doctors to help save her…She called the patient advocate…She called the chief medical officer…She was in pain and ignored. Fellow docs got her into another hospital… It was too late. She passed away today. The system failed her. It failed us. Anyone want to guess the race of this doctor?”
Brown added, “She didn’t have to die like that. Her pain was dismissed. She was discharged WITHOUT being stable and was readmitted to another hospital because she was too scared to go back to the first hospital. She had to advocate for herself and was STILL ignored. Do you see how terrifying this is for people who don’t have a voice???”
Gilman said on Twitter, “If an educated Black doctor is treated like this, then what about the less educated patients who can’t advocate for themselves. Dr. Susan Moore advocated for herself and still had the worst outcome of death.”
Moore Was the Sole Provider for Her 19-Year-Old Son & 2 Parents With Dementia
Moore is survived by her 19-year-old son and her parents, who both have dementia, according to a GoFundMe page started for her family. She was the sole provider for her son and parents. The fundraiser was started to provide immediate housing needs for Moore’s son and parents, the page said. Within four hours, it had far exceeded its $2,500 goal, raising more than $11,500.
According to the GoFundMe page:
Dr. Susan Moore, a physician residing in Indianapolis, experienced an untimely death.
She had been fighting COVID for the past few weeks. She leaves a son who is 19 yrs old and her parents, both of which have dementia. The son is dealing with both situations at this time and is in good spirits.
Susan was a phenomenal doctor. She loved practicing medicine, she loved being a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc, she loved helping people, and she was unapologetic about it.
This fundraiser is to assist her family with immediate needs, which are currently housing and food, as she was the sole provider for her son and parents. This page will be updated as more needs arise, including funeral costs, moving expenses, and incidentals.
Moore’s cousin said on Facebook that Moore was a Michigan native who graduated from Sexton High School in Lansing in 1986. She graduated from Kettering University in Flint with a degree in engineering and then studied at the University of Michigan Medical School.
Her cousin, Taunya Henderson, wrote on Facebook, “Our families lived together when her family immigrated to the U.S. from Jamaica in the early ’70s. Her mother and my father are siblings. Please pray for her family, especially her son Henry, and her aging parents who lived with her and were being cared for by her. This is a HUGE loss.”
Dr. Vidya Kumar Ramanathan wrote on Twitter, “So very sad to see this. Dr. Moore was in my medical school class. She was kind, hard working, brilliant, and generous. Really saddened by this.”