Dr. Susan Moore said that despite telling her doctor she was in pain she received medication after tests proved what she had been saying since she arrived at the hospital. (Courtesy Image)

By Lauren Victoria Burke
NNPA Newswire Correspondent

(NNPA Newswire) – “He made me feel like a drug addict,” Dr. Susan Moore, 52, said on a video days before her death on Dec. 20 due to coronavirus. 

The Black Indiana doctor said on a Facebook video that she had received poor treatment from White caregivers because she was African American.  Moore tested positive for COVID-19 late last month and was admitted to IU Health North Hospital in Carmel, Ind., according to her post. Moore asserted that her doctor attempted to discharge her at 10 p.m.

“This is how Black people get killed, when you send them home and they don’t know how to fight for themselves,” Dr. Moore said on the video. 

Moore’s message has received widespread attention, reaching over a million people on social media as of Dec. 24. It also was the center of a lengthy segment on “Roland Martin Unfiltered” on Dec. 23. 

Unlike many other patients, Dr. Moore knew what to ask for as she was being treated for coronavirus and strongly felt she was not receiving the best treatment. Moore said that despite telling her doctor that she was in pain she only received medication after tests proved what she had been saying since she arrived at the hospital.

“I put forth, and I maintain, if I was White, I wouldn’t have to go through that,” Moore said in her social media video, her voice often cracking.  

She was released from the hospital run by Indiana University Health System on Dec. 7, but was again hospitalized 12 hours later when her temperature spiked and her blood pressure dropped, according to her post. She was taken to a different hospital, Ascencion St. Vincent in Carmel, and said she was experiencing better care. 

Still, her condition worsened and she was put on a ventilator, The Associated Press reported. She died Dec. 20, her 19-year-old son Henry Muhammad told news outlets. A listed number for Muhammad could not be located Dec. 25. Messages left by The Associated Press for two family spokespeople weren’t immediately returned.

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the U.S. hard and has now become the most deadly event in U.S. history since the Civil War. Over 327,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 in 2020, at an average of 2,000 persons per day. Among those, Black patients 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. 

That inequality stems from the prevalence of some chronic disorders among Blacks, but African Americans are also more vulnerable because of systemic racism, inequity in health care access and economic opportunity.

Many Black Americans also report that medical professionals take their ailments less seriously when they seek treatment.

Moore grew up in Michigan, where she earned a medical degree at the University of Michigan in 2002. She had an active medical license in Indiana at the time of her death, according to MLive.com. 

Muhammad told The New York Times that his mother had often frequently experienced inferior medical care. She had an inflammatory disease called sarcoidosis that attacks the lungs and was often treated for her condition. 

“Nearly every time she went to the hospital she had to advocate for herself, fight for something in some way, shape or form, just to get baseline, proper care,” he told the newspaper. 

Dennis Murphy, the president and CEO of Indiana University Health, said Dec. 24 he was saddened by Moore’s death. He said he did not believe the medical team “failed the technical aspects” of Moore’s care after a preliminary medical quality review but “may not have shown the level of compassion and respect we strive for in understanding what matters most to patients.”

Moore cared for her mother, who has dementia, and her son. A GoFundMe page is hoping to raise $100,000 to assist the Moore family.  It has raised over $109,000 so far.  

Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist for NNPA and the host of the podcast BURKEFILE. She is also a political strategist as Principal of Win Digital Media LLC. She may be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on twitter at @LVBurke. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.