Tuesday’s Thoughts: Forced To Pay For Deadly Healthcare Day 16

Photo by Luis Melendez on Unsplash

It didn’t matter that Tufts Medical Center missed two critical diagnoses that resulted in severe disabilities. Or that the treatment deviated from the standard of care. They were rewarded by the health insurance for almost killing me. And I continue to pay for that care with ongoing health issues.

While in the emergency room at Tufts Medical Center, I called the hospital administrators for help. NOT ONE responded to my calls. I even called my health insurance to let them know the hospital (Tufts Medical Center) deviated from the standard of care. They said as long as a doctor saw me, they paid based on the billing. So if the doctor’s treatment plan included my death, he and the hospital would be compensated by my insurance company for my death.

It does not matter how many patients a doctor or hospital kills or harms. Or that medical errors  are the third leading cause of death in the U.S., and long-term disabilities due to medical errors are a leading cause of disability. They are reimbursed for harmful and too often fatal care. Such a system fosters corruption. It is all about money and a system controlled by white supremacists. It is no wonder Black people have been harmed repeatedly by healthcare, especially in Massachusetts.

Within the system of white supremacy, the fabric of the US, Black lives do not matter. And so it is in healthcare. It angered them that I was a doctor. They got pleasure in taunting and torturing me. They laughed at my speech because my jaw was broken and dislocated, so I could not open it to speak well. The nurse wanted me to beg her for pain medication. I did not receive professional courtesy as a fellow physician. After over 25 years of saving lives and helping primarily white patients, I was abused by white and Asian colleagues. When I became a patient, they saw only color, which meant they could do whatever they wanted without fear.

It used to be malpractice that helped to keep the system of white supremacy in healthcare honest. Fear of malpractice made staff stick to the standard of care. That fear is non-existent now as only the very rich can afford a malpractice lawyer. And in Massachusetts, in my experience, malpractice lawyers used every excuse not to defend me, yet when a white male friend called with the same story, a lawyer got on the phone and was ready to take the case.

In MA, the kind of healthcare I and many other Black folks I have spoken to amounts to medical racism. As you can see, racism is a moneymaker for white people. They get paid for harming Black people. No one cares, and conveniently no one believes.

Medical Errors Are No. 3 Cause Of U.S Deaths, Researchers Say
https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/05/03/476636183/death-certificates-undercount-toll-of-medical-errors

Medical error—the third leading cause of death in the US

Click to access methodsmakarydaniel_2016_bmj%20%281%29.pdf

Study Suggests Medical Errors Now Third Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.
https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/study_suggests_medical_errors_now_third_leading_cause_of_death_in_the_us

Your Health Care May Kill You: Medical Errors
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28186008/

 

Author

  • Angela Grant is a medical doctor. For 22 years, she practiced emergency medicine and internal medicine. She studied for one year at Harvard T. H Chan School Of Public Health. She writes about culture, race, and health.

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