“SAY HERE NAME” Written by Akili and Dr. Emilee Bargoma
The recent and sad death of Dr. Susan Moore is another example of anti-Blackness and medical apartheid. In the words of Dr. Susan Moore: “You have to show proof that you have something wrong with you, in order for you to get the medicine. I put forward, and I maintain: If I was white, I wouldn’t have to go through that. Dr. Bannec made me feel like I was a drug addict, and he knew I was a physician.” This is how Black people get killed, their complaints of pain and discomfort are often either challenged, or go unaddressed. Black people often are treated using protocols and equipment that have been optimized and calibrated to serve White patients.
Black patients are also often sent home without proper information or instruction on how to care for themselves. For those (like Dr. Moore) who are aware of these treatment dichotomies and demand that they be given proper care, they are met with passive aggressive responses. In Dr. Moore’s case, her doctor (Bannec) not only downplayed her pain, but placed the onus on her to prove she was in pain. Within a few days Dr. Moore was dead from COVID-19 related complications. And even in death, those who denied her adequate medical care insist that they were bullied by her. Simply because she demanded that they treat her accordingly.
This is clear evidence of State sanctioned violence. Just as we witnessed George Floyd being refused his humanity by Derek Chauvin, we also witnessed Dr. Moore’s last days as she was denied her humanity by the doctors and medical staff who had sworn a pledge to Do No Harm.
This is not new, it has been an experience Black people have suffered since our enslavement. The current pandemic of COVID-19 has disproportionately ravaged Black communities across the country. Black people are nearly five times more likely to be hospitalized, and three times more likely to die, from the coronavirus.
It is incumbent upon us to attack the State sanctioned medical apartheid, that exists in this country, in the same manner in which apartheid in South Africa was attacked. Firstly, we must be prepared to loudly disrupt the system, and demand open acknowledgement of the stark duality that exists in this country’s medical care system. Secondly, the teaching practices of the medical profession must undergo radical change. We must demand that Black patients are afforded the same treatment as their White counterparts. Finally, we must demand Black voices be at the center of every aspect of health care, starting with a call for the single payer systems of Medicare For All.
Because all Black Lives Matter, it is our duty to fight to end these medical apartheid practices so Black Lives can be saved. Unfortunately, the deliberate neglect of Black Americans by a racist system, has claimed the life of Dr. Susan Moore. She has been made an honor ancestor, another name we will call upon to ground us in the Black Liberation Struggle.