For the record, I’m neither idealistic nor naive enough to believe that racism is not still alive and well in America. It isn’t as generally practiced as it was during my childhood days—and it’s certainly not nearly as overt—but it’s still with us, ever more subtle and every bit as HATEFUL.
Having said this, I have no factual reason to believe those who claim that it played a role in Mr. Duncan’s death. And what’s more, given my range of experiences with hospital emergency rooms across this nation, I have every reason for SERIOUSLY doubting that it played a role.
And Mr. Duncan’s family members aren’t the only ones making the claim. A few news outlets are also dropping hints, but—at least for now—they seem to be the usual array of cable news morons who swarm around these kinds of things like packs of brain-ravaged rabid dogs.
But this shouldn’t shock anyone. The news media in general, and the cable news media specifically, no longer REPORT the news; they now CREATE it.
This case, at least in my opinion, boils down to a case of sheer medical incompetence on the part of hospital screening personnel. Yes, he wasn’t exactly immediately forthcoming about his African connection, but I’m not cutting them any slack because of it.
Ebola-like symptoms were obvious, including his fever of 103 degrees. So unless Texas Presbyterian Hospital had been operating in a total news blackout, they should have known better.
But already, some in the news media are asking WHY the five WHITES who were treated in this country received a more rigorous treatment and lived, while the one BLACK patient received a different level of treatment and died. Well here’s a clue!
Had hospital emergency personnel been more critically astute during the interviewing step, and even more importantly, had they been less dismissive about his SYMPTOMS, Mr. Duncan’s treatment would have been more extensive. And while we’ll never know for sure, he may well have survived.
His family has a solid—not to mention RIGHTEOUS—medical malpractice case against the hospital. And I’m betting that the hospital will do all in its power to settle this one OUT OF COURT.
Racism charges are extremely easy to level; people do it at the drop of a pin. But even when the charges are legitimate, they’re near impossible to prove. And every lawyer with a 3-digit IQ knows it.
However, in this case—and again in my opinion—it was sheer medical ineptness that lead to Mr. Duncan’s death; nor was it racially motivated.
We can discuss disparages within our current medical delivery system—and they do exist—but that’s fodder for a different article. However, they have nothing to do with the way emergency room medical practitioners deliver the goods.
I’ve yet to meet a single emergency room medical practitioner (physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner, RN, or medical technician) who sees patients as white or black, rich or poor, foreign or domestic, insurance-covered or not.
They see sick and injured patients; PEOPLE of all walks and stations in life who are often times near death. And the medical treatments they apply are as state of the art as hospital resources permit . . . NO QUESTIONS ASKED.
It wasn’t his race that precipitated the medical malaise regarding his initial diagnosis. Hospital emergency rooms—including this one—are extremely crowded and busy places, often insanely busy. And sometimes the personnel get careless!
Over the past 25-years, I can document no less than FIVE emergency room cases, right here in good old DELAWARE, involving WHITE patients who were carelessly diagnosed in similar fashion. Four of them died within hours of being SENT HOME.
White, black, or whatever; if race isn’t a MEDICAL factor, it’s immaterial. Emergency rooms get crazily busy; practitioners—sometimes even the best of them—slip up, a patient’s race notwithstanding.