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Hospital CEO's response to Black doctor's COVID-19 death sparks outrage

The CEO of an Indiana hospital is facing backlash over a statement about the death of Black doctor Susan Moore, who died of COVID-19 at the facility after filming a viral video about her treatment, ABC News reports.

Moore shared a video a few weeks prior to her death in which she claimed mistreatment by hospital staff due to the color of her skin. She says she was pushed to leave the hospital despite still experiencing symptoms.

"This is how Black people get killed," Moore said in the video. "When you send them home and they don't know how to fight for themselves."

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“I put forth and I maintain if I was white, I wouldn’t have to go through that," she added.

Indiana University Hospital president and CEO Dennis M. Murphy issued a press release on Dec. 24 in response to Moore's death, writing that he was "deeply saddened" by what occurred, and "even more saddened by the experience she described in the video."

Despite his expressed sympathies and call for an external investigation, some activists are accusing Murphy of "victim-blaming," according to ABC News.

In the statement, Murphy wrote that staff were working hard to treat a "complex patient in the midst of a pandemic crisis" and that they "may have been intimidated by a knowledgeable patient who was using social media to voice her concerns and critique the care they were delivering."

Dr. Theresa Chapple, a Black physician and public health advocate, took to Twitter to express her concerns over the statement, writing that it left her feeling "gaslit."

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Christie VanHorne, a New York-based public health advocate, echoed Chapple's sentiments.

"It’s honestly a disgrace to the medical profession that they would blame the victim and the nursing team," she told ABC News. "To say that the nurses were intimidated by the patient, it’s absolutely ridiculous when she was just trying to advocate for herself."

Indiana University Hospital CEO Dennis Murphy said in a statement to The Hill that the comments in the press release "intended to reassure our community of IU Health’s commitment to take her concerns seriously and investigate them fairly, consistent with our values of compassion, excellence and purpose. Since then, I’ve come to recognize that the words I chose did not reflect my intent, which is to prevent anything like this from happening again."
 
Murphy said that in addition to an internal investigation, the hospital would also conduct a third-party review of its patient care protocols and procedures.
 
"Whatever the findings, we will own the results and take whatever action is needed to uphold our commitment to equity and racial justice for our patients. And we will earnestly and humbly seek ongoing feedback from our patients, staff, partners and local communities on our progress," Murphy said.