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Black Voice News Reader Responds to “Our Bodies” Column

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Addie W. Brown, Ph.D.
Los Angeles

After reading “Race at the Bedside,” a response to a question posed to Dr. Levister (September 5), I found it unabashedly sickening (no pun intended) to learn that for us African Americans, there is incessant struggle with form after form of present day racial profiling, all of which is detrimental to our day-to-day physical, mental and spiritual functioning.

Contemporary racial profiling on the level of hospital care is reminiscent of the disgraceful Tuskegee experiment. So it appears that we and other so-called minorities must add hospital care to current racist venues, without a doubt about our position, and expect to be deprived of our human right to receive the best of hospital care, if and when we are misfortunate enough to need it, and find ourselves in the hands of morally deficient Job’s comforter. What happened to equal consideration regardless of color? One wonders if I ever really functioned.
To learn of the findings of the Institute of Medicine study was very troublesome, regarding patients with a low intensity of color receiving better care than African Americans and other minorities, from functionary staff at hospitals. Some preconceived reasons were: we are less intelligent, and/or have limitations, which militate against good health care during and after hospitalization. This kind of thinking leaves room for the Job’s comforter syndrome, because the best care is preserved and limited to “Whites only” the familiar language of yesteryear. In other words, the Hippocratic Oath is replaced by the Hypocritic oath aka Job’s comforter. Studies have shown that compassion hastens the healing process, lessens the discomfort factor and increases a patient’s desire to follow through with the doctor’s recommendations, if explained to them in layman’s terms. Stereotypical attitudes, therefore, have no place in healing space.
I hope that all African Americans will somehow learn the difference between the bedside racist profiler and the Hippocratic moralist, since all of us are potential patients. It was during a recent trip to Cuba we learned that every citizen is entitled to, and assured of the best health available, regardless of color, age, gender, income or intelligence. It is said that in America the only thing resembling universal health care is that offered to ex-servicemen and members of Congress and their families, which puts them in the position to receive the best care without cost, stereotypical and perhaps racist profiling.
Maybe Dr. Levister could devote one of his columns to informing us of recognizing and dealing with the challenges mentioned in his piece, whenever we become patients.

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