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30 Apr 2021

Alawfultruth: Physicians, heal thyself

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April 30, 2021 Category: Commentary Posted by:

In recent weeks, I have had more friends go into the hospital and leave in a body bag than I want to count. And while that is tragic all by itself, the way the family members have been treated by physicians in hospitals leaves a lot to be desired.

There must be a better way. 

One of my friends recently lost her husband in a local hospital, and when she described what the doctor said and how he spoke to her, it left her angry and bereft, even as she was already dealing with the trauma of not knowing what to do and how this would turn out.

She, like many others, wants doctors to have a bedside manner with a sense of decency when treating their patients.

Her husband succumbed to his illness, but it was family and friends who held her up while she had to make heart wrenching decisions and deal with physicians who showed up as clinical, uncaring, and cold.

This is not the first time we have seen these kinds of behaviors from medical personnel, and it needs to stop through a level of training that seems to be missing. In addition, doctors need to stop using skewed data to diagnose Black people. According to a recent CNN article, “Black or ‘Other’? Doctors may be relying on race to make decisions about your health”  which is part of a “history refocused” series, featuring surprising and personal stories from America’s past to bring depth to conflicts still raging today. Race correction is being used in the medical industry and many would have no idea unless they were in medical school or told by a practicing physician. Simply put, when using algorithms to measure kidney functions as an example, an equation is used to adjust for variables like age, sex, and race. When it comes to race, doctors only have two options: Black or other. Medical students of color are dumbfounded that racism exists even in the mathematical algorithms used to treat us. Race correction has caught the attention of Congress, but God only knows how long it will take, if ever, to erase the biases in the way we are viewed and treated.

The Hippocratic oath that doctors pledge to uphold states, “first, do no harm.”  far too often, patients are dismissed with ailments and told it was all in their heads, quality care and time given is sorely lacking, and some physicians carry an air of cockiness as if the technical side of their degrees made them a God.

Research has shown that women and people of color suffer greatly at the hands of these people with stethoscopes and no heart for those they are purportedly there to heal.

It is no wonder then, that so many refuse to go to see a doctor until it is too late.

We hold teachers, police officers and all other professionals accountable for their jobs — we need to do the same for some of the awful nurses and doctors in our midst.

Follow up with and file reports with the medical board in your state, dismiss them from your care, and always get second and third opinions where possible.

These physicians need to heal themselves from the cold arrogance that shrouds them and take a class (or seven) on how to be sensitive with the people who will need them the most.

Disclaimer: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in the article belong solely to the author, and not necessarily to the author’s employer, The Philadelphia Sunday SUN, the author’s organization, committee or other group or individual.

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