“Lack of empathy” within the care of the black physician; The therapy didn’t contribute to her demise
INDIANAPOLIS – An outside investigation into the death of a black doctor fighting COVID-19 has found that the treatment she received at IU Health North did not contribute to her death, IU Health said Wednesday.
However, the review by a panel of six external experts revealed that Dr. Susan Moore suffers from a lack of cultural literacy on the part of those treating her at IU Health North in Carmel, parent IU Health said.
IU Health acknowledged in its statement that there has been a “lack of empathy and compassion” in providing their care.
Moore, 52, a family doctor who has been practicing in Indiana since 2009, died on December 20, about two weeks after she was discharged from IU Health North and then admitted to another hospital.
In a December 4 Facebook post, she said she would have to repeatedly ask about medications, scans, and routine checkups while she was being admitted to IU Health North. She said a white doctor in particular appeared to have dismissed her pain and she didn’t trust the hospital.
IU Health has not specified the topics of “empathy and compassion” nor has it determined which nurses are responsible for the medical care of Moore.
“We owe it to our patients to always appear for them, to treat them with dignity and respect, to value their perspectives and to validate their feelings when they are in our care,” said Dennis Murphy, CEO of IU Health, in an explanation.
“We have not met these values with Dr. Moore and recognize that we need to do more to become a more diverse, inclusive, and anti-racist health system,” said Murphy.
Murphy told the Indianapolis Business Journal that no employees will be fired on the recommendation of the external review board, which included four black members. He said a small number of employees will be taken on administrative leave while receiving diversity training and then returned to their clinical roles.
The hospital system has begun taking action, including – providing training to all staff “to instill empathy, nurture empathy, and enable the best patient experience” – after receiving recommendations from the panel.
“The IBLC is disappointed with these findings,” said Rep. Robin Shackleford, chairman of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus (IBLC). “Everyone deserves to be looked after with compassion and respect.”
Shackleford, who is also the senior minority member of the House Public Health Committee, on the other hand, said she was satisfied with the response from the external review committee, and IU Health acknowledged the need for this training.
“The video went so viral and now you are seeing the changes that need to be made,” Shackleford said. “I hope her death is not in vain. I hope when she decided to take out her camera she knew this needs to be documented to make sure it doesn’t happen again. “
“These recommendations reinforce what the IBLC is in favor of and what the Indiana Minority Health Disparities Task Force recommended in 2020: Indiana’s health professionals need awareness and implicit racial bias training,” Shackleford said.
Shackleford introduced House Bill 1333 to establish a cultural awareness and literacy training program for health professionals. All health professionals would be required to complete two hours of this training each year.
The bill was not heard in the previous session and was rejected for a preliminary summer study topic. However, she said the IBLC would continue to work with the Indiana Department of Health (ISDH), health institutions, and the community on legislation over the summer guide.
Brian Tabor, president of the Indiana Hospital Association (IHA) said they support House Bill 1333, but at the same time “we as an industry – the hospital community – are working towards the goal of providing this education.”
He said that almost every hospital in Indiana is already pushing a training plan for its staff and said, “I think this conversation will speed that up, and it certainly needs to be done.”
Tabor said that as an association, they will do everything possible to learn lessons from this individual case and to share them with the hospitals he oversees across the state.
“I think this can be an opportunity for all Indiana hospitals to learn from this and then work with public policy makers on proposals like the ones we are discussing,” said Tabor.
He also said that a few days ago the American Hospital Association (AHA) exchanged information with hospitals across the country and Indiana dealing with humility training, as well as implicit bias training and education.
The AHA said, “The disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Black Americans, Native American tribes and tribal populations, Latino Americans and other color communities is creating a renewed focus on promoting health equity.”
Denise Dillard, who is the Methodist Hospitals Attorney, member of the IHA and member of the governor’s Health Disparities Council, said, “Populations unfortunately experiencing an upswing in this type of decision-making – I think what we are Seeing are people, who do not maliciously try to do certain things. “
She said she was disappointed to see House Bill 1333 is not moving forward.
“It just broke my heart that nothing was left on the vine when it came to looking at real realms of justice – health justice,” said Dillard.
Dillard said, “We’re all looking at how we can put the political issues aside to really look at our voters. Every Hoosier – rural, urban, cosmopolitan, it’s universal health. “
Although lawmakers have argued that it could be costly to provide training to all healthcare workers in Indiana, both Dillard and Shackleford said the needs would outweigh the cost.
“In the end, it’s about saving lives, and in the end, what it means to us is making sure everyone is comfortable going to hospitals when they see their provider,” said Shackleford.
“You are not going to cut costs by throwing the baby away with the bath water,” said Dillard.
IU Health, the state’s largest hospital system, also plans to hire more patient care lawyers, improve patient care coordination, and increase support for team members suffering from burnout and poor patient outcomes.
The hospital system said it will speak to community leaders and stakeholders “to publicly recognize the history of racism in health care and Indiana and how IU Health will work towards reconciliation and change.”
Shackleford confirmed IU Health’s answer and called it a step forward.
“For the team to put that in there and say it has to come out and say that and how it will work to eradicate racism, I think this is another big step.”
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