Just over two weeks before she died of complications from COVID-19 in December 2020, Dr. Susan G. Moore recorded a smartphone video from her bed in an Indiana hospital. In the recording, which went viral, the Black physician accused a white doctor of letting racial bias affect his medical decisions, from evading her requests for a CT scan, to playing down her pain complaints and refusing to prescribe additional narcotic painkillers.
“He made me feel like I was a drug addict,” Moore, a 52-year-old family physician, said into the camera. “I maintain that if I was white, I wouldn’t have to go through that.”
Moore’s experience and death sparked a national conversation on biases in the U.S. health care system. In a new study that we worked on with a team of fellow researchers, we found that health care providers are often not hearing their patients, especially those who are poorer or minorities. It’s not uncommon for people to feel that their care preferences aren’t being taken into account, according to our research. Further, the effect is magnified if the patient is poor or a person of color.
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