IU Health forming ‘wide-ranging group’ of medical experts to review death of Black doctor

Nine days after a Black doctor died of COVID-19 after alleging she received racist medical care at Indiana University Health North Hospital in Carmel, the hospital system said it is still in the process of forming an external investigation into the physician’s death.

IU Health, the state’s largest hospital system, said it has reached out to a “wide-ranging group of national and local medical and diversity experts” to participate in an independent external review. But how long it will take to form an outside group and conduct an investigation remains unclear.

“We are currently vetting participants for the external investigation,” an IU Health spokesman said in an email Tuesday afternoon to IBJ. “To ensure confidence in the process and the outcome, we will allow investigators to dictate the timeline.”

IU Health gave few details into how the investigation will be conducted, except to say it wants to develop a full understanding of the treatment of Dr. Susan Moore, 52, who died Dec. 20.

“Our goal is to develop a holistic understanding of Dr. Moore’s care, from both clinical and patient experience perspectives. The investigations will include interviews with Dr. Moore’s providers and a review of relevant records.”

The death of Moore, a family medicine physician who had practiced in Indiana since 2009, has garnered national interest after the New York Times, the Washington Post and other major outlets wrote stories about her treatment at the hospital, describing footage from Moore’s seven-minute social media post.

Moore was admitted to IU Health North Hospital earlier this month after testing positive for COVID-19. In her Facebook post, she said she had to repeatedly ask for medication, scans and routine checks. She said caregivers there, including one white doctor, seemed to dismiss her pain, and wanted to discharge her from the hospital late in the evening.

“I put forth and maintain, if I was white, I wouldn’t have to go through that,”Moore said in the Dec. 4 video, as she labored to breathe, with her voice often cracking. “This is how Black people get killed, when you send them home, and they don’t know how to fight for themselves.”

She was released from the hospital on Dec. 7, but was again hospitalized 12 hours later when her temperature spiked and her blood pressure dropped, according to her post. She was taken to a different hospital, Ascension St. Vincent in Carmel, and said she was experiencing better care. Still, her condition worsened, and she was put on a ventilator. She died Dec. 20.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris took up Dr. Moore’s cause in a tweet on Tuesday. “”This tragedy is all too common for Black women across our nation whose concerns and pain are often downplаyed or ignored in our health care system,” Harris wrote. “We must do better. Our administration is committed to confronting these glaring racial health disparities.”

The hospital system said it is also conducting an internal investigation, which is underway. It did not say what it has learned so far from the internal investigation.

Dennis Murphy, the president and CEO of Indiana University Health, said in a statement on Dec. 24 he was “deeply saddened” by Dr. Moore’s death and by the experience she described in the video.

“It hurt me personally to see a patient reach out via social media because they felt their care was inadequate and their personal needs were not being heard,” Murphy said.

He said that after a preliminary medical quality review, he was confident that the medical team had the expertise to treat complex cases.

“I do not believe that we failed the technical aspects of the delivery of Dr. Moore’s care,” he wrote in the statement. “I am concerned, however, that we may not have shown the level of compassion and respect we strive for in understanding what matters most to patients. I am worried that our care team did not have the time due to the burden of this pandemic to hear and understand patient concerns and questions.”

IU Health said that once the external review is complete, it will take “appropriate actions based on the findings and recommendations from the panels.”

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

12 thoughts on “IU Health forming ‘wide-ranging group’ of medical experts to review death of Black doctor

  1. A review of this woman’s chart is all well and good but it will unfortunately do nothing to understand the implicit bias that may be present in healthcare systems, including ours locally. IU Health would do well to apologize and look inward to understand how the people who make up their health system can prevent anything similar from happening again. Even the best intentioned caregivers can find themselves operating under unconscious, implicit bias. Admitting this and finding a path forward is the answer.

    1. How do you measure implicit bias? Are you implicitly biased by 10% or 90%? Are you able to fix implicit bias or are you forever infected with it? Do black people have any implicit bias or is it just White people? Are Asians guilty too?

      I think a good first step is if you admitted that you’re racist and implicitly biased. You need to apologize right now and right here that you’re a racist who has committed racist acts in the past. Only then can we move forward. Anything less and you are perpetuating your racism.

    2. “Do black people have any implicit bias”? Definitely, in fact their bias is what is causing most of the current problems.

  2. The last thing our country needs is the frivolous race card being played in the Plandemic debacle.

    Now the Socialist Marxist Communist Democrat Harris has taken the bait, it will get uglier from here on out with more Constitutional Rights of the innocent being trampled the end result.

  3. O brother !!!! What’s next the humane Scoiety going to be investigated next for being biased towards people of color adopting animals?

    JOST STOP ALL THE INSANITY.
    I never looked at color till this year. Now do I shop or eat were it’s supporting one human over another?

  4. Vice President elect can’t wait to use that race card.

    Career democrats, party of division.

    Anyone who believes the care was racist against this woman is a fool.

    Remember the story: “Boy who cried wolf?” Or in this situation, girl who cried wolf…

    1. Aldo, why was this information removed from this updated article?

      “She had an inflammatory disease called sarcoidosis that attacks the lungs and was often treated for her condition.”

      Comorbidities are a clear issue for those who are fighting a virus which includes the current COVID-19.

    2. It is clear in the totality of care IU North failed Dr Moore. I hope however any review includes the administrative structure of IU Health that failed not only Dr Moore but all the incredible caregivers struggling to provide care in these difficult times. It was clear to hundreds of people (? Thousands) that Dr Moore felt something was amiss with her care. It’s unconscionable that IU Health pays millions to administrative personnel and yet no intervention took place to avoid this debacle. Where are the systems and processes to make sure this incompetence will not be repeated?

    1. Good question, John! Thank goodness Kamala Harris weighed in; she has nothing better to do. (Kamala Harris’ blathering so reminds me of Barack Hussein Obama Jr. opining on the Henry Louis Gates incident, when Obama said on national TV, “Well, we don’t have all the facts BUT it appears the police acted improperly.” I see we are in for more of this from Ms. Harris…and we should not be surprised….the race card continues to play well for the Obamas.)

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets in {{ count_down }} days.