Medical

Review: Caregivers at Carmel hospital ‘lacked awareness of implicit racial bias’ in care of Indianapolis doctor

CARMEL, Ind. (WISH) — The findings of an external review of the case of an Indianapolis doctor who claimed she was mistreated and delayed proper care at a Carmel hospital because of her race show caregivers lacked empathy and compassion.

Before dying of COVID-19, Dr. Susan Moore documented her experience at IU Health North Hospital in a 7-minute video Dec. 4 on Facebook. She also added written comments about the timeline of events in the post.

As a result of Moore’s claims, Dennis Murphy, IU Health’s president and chief executive officer, called for an external review of the case. He released those findings on Wednesday.

The review said that caregivers at IU Health North Hospital in Carmel “lacked empathy, compassion and awareness of implicit racial bias in the delivery and communication of Dr. (Susan) Moore’s care.”

The review panel examined medical records, reviewed organizational policies and procedures, and interviewed IU Health personnel during their investigation.

Murphy said the findings show that the care Moore received at IU Health North Hospital in Carmel did not contribute to her death.

“As a seasoned healthcare leader who is committed to compassionate care and to operating a premier institution focused on providing high-quality care, it is clear to me that Dr. Moore deserved to be listened to and for her concerns to be understood,” Murphy said in a statement sent to News 8. “We owe it to our patients to always show up for them, to treat them with dignity and respect, to appreciate their perspectives, and to validate their feelings when they are in our care. We did not live up to these values with Dr. Moore and acknowledge that we have more to do to become a more diverse, inclusive and anti-racist health system.”

Additionally, the external review panel has made recommendations for the hospital to immediately do. Those recommendations, listed in Murphy’s full statement, aim to enhance the delivery of appropriate, compassionate and evidence-based care, as well as enhance cultural competency and awareness of implicit racial bias among IU Health personnel.

Murphy said the recommendations have been appreciated and accepted and the hospital has already begun to act.

“We believe the findings and recommendations of this external review will drive forward a plan of action for IU Health to become a more inclusive, equitable and respectful healthcare system for all,” he said.

News 8 spoke with state Rep. Robin Shackleford; the Democrat is the chair of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus and a ranking member of the House Public Health Committee.

She said racism in health care has always been an issue and, while she’s disappointed it took someone losing their life, she applauds IU Health’s efforts.

“Sometimes I hate when people say, ‘I don’t see color.’ You have to see the color of someone’s skin. You have to realize everyone has a different background, a different experience based on their color, based on their gender, based on their sex. So, I think getting this training for health professionals will just enlighten them on some of the other things about their patients and help them be more compassionate,” Shackleford said.

Shackleford introduced a bill this year’s session that focused on cultural awareness and competence training for health care professionals. It was not given a hearing.

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