INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – An external investigation into the death of a black doctor while battling COVID-19 has found that the treatment he received at a suburban hospital in Indianapolis did not contribute to his death, his parent organization.
However, a review by a group of six external experts concluded that Dr. Susan Moore suffered from a lack of cultural competence on the part of those who treated her at IU Health North in Carmel, Father IU Health said.
IU Health, in its statement, acknowledged that it showed “lack of empathy and compassion” in providing its care.
Moore, 52, a family medicine doctor who has been practicing in Indiana since 2009, died Dec. 20, about two weeks after she was released from IU Health North and then admitted to a different hospital.
In a Dec. 4 Facebook post, she said she had to repeatedly order medications, scans and routine checks while she was admitted to UI Health North. He said a white doctor in particular apparently dismissed his pain and said he did not trust the hospital.
IU Health did not specify the issues of empathy and compassion or identify which caregivers were responsible for Moore’s medical care.
“We must always present our patients to them, treat them with dignity and respect, appreciate their perspectives and validate their feelings when they are in our care,” IU Health CEO Dennis Murphy said in a statement .
“We have not lived up to these values with Dr. Moore and we recognize that we have a lot to do to become a more diverse, inclusive and anti-racist health care system,” Murphy said.
Murphy told the Indianapolis Business Journal that no staff member would be laid off, on the recommendation of the outside review group, which included four black members. He said a small number of staff members will be placed on administrative leave while receiving diversity training and then return to their clinical function.
The hospital system has begun taking steps, including conducting training for all employees “to improve compassion, foster empathy and facilitate an optimal patient experience,” after receiving recommendations from the group.
IU Health, the state’s largest hospital system, also said it also plans to hire more patient care advocates, improve patient care coordination and increase support for team members who have exhaustion problems and poor results.
The hospital system said it will speak with community leaders and stakeholders “to publicly recognize the history of racism in health care and Indiana, and how IU Health will work for reconciliation and change.”