A Yale Physician Calls On The Use Of Body Cameras To Combat Racism In The Medical Field
Dr. Amanda Joy Calhoun, a Yale physician, is calling for the use of body cameras to combat racism within the medical field.
In recent years, there have been numerous cases highlighting the mistreatment and disparities faced by Black patients in healthcare settings.
Dr. Calhoun’s proposal aims to address these issues by introducing a tool that can hold healthcare professionals accountable for their actions and ensure equal and fair treatment for all patients.
It comes as no surprise that Black people have been the victims of medical malpractice simply due to the color of their skin.
Celebrities such as Serena Williams have been vocal about their mistreatment at hospitals that are equipped to provide the highest quality of care for patients.
These instances shed light on a much larger problem within the medical field – systemic racism.
One recent case that gained attention involved the family of the late UK-based rapper MF Doom.
They filed an investigation against St. James Hospital in Leeds, England, after it was discovered that there had been an alleged two-hour delay in medical attention for the swelling of his throat.
Such incidents raise concerns about the biases and discrimination that may exist within healthcare institutions.
Beyond just the rich and famous, studies have shown that Black women, regardless of socioeconomic status, are 2.5 times more likely to die during childbirth than their white counterparts.
This disparity highlights the urgent need for reform within the healthcare system to address racial inequalities and ensure equitable outcomes for all patients.
Additionally, it has been reported that Black patients are more likely to live longer when they have access to Black primary doctors.
However, this option is not always readily available, particularly during emergencies.
Dr. Calhoun, in her open letter published in the Boston Globe, drew attention to the prevalent racist behaviors she has witnessed towards Black patients throughout her career.
She shared instances where white nurses made offensive remarks about young Black children and doctors described the natural hair of Black people as “wild” and “unkempt.”
She also witnessed Black patients being unnecessarily physically restrained and experienced the callousness of medical staff towards a Black teenager who died from a gunshot wound.
Moreover, Dr. Calhoun has experienced mistreatment on a personal level as well.
When her sister experienced breathing difficulties due to consuming a Brazil nut, Calhoun’s mother rushed her to a nearby emergency department.
However, the staff reportedly showed a lack of concern, refusing to treat her sister with urgency.
Only later did a doctor diagnose her sister with anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction. This incident highlights the disregard and dismissive attitudes that Black patients often face in medical settings.
She argues that if medical personnel were required to wear body cameras, it would hold them accountable for their actions and potentially deter racist behaviors.
The footage captured by these cameras would serve as evidence and could reinforce the truth of healthcare professionals’ intentions. It would eliminate the possibility of criminalizing Black patients or belittling their pain.
Dr. Calhoun emphasizes that wearing body cameras would not only benefit patients but also provide reassurance to healthcare providers who are committed to providing high-quality care.
It would create an environment of trust and accountability, ensuring that every patient receives fair and equitable treatment. As a doctor herself, Dr. Calhoun has volunteered to wear a body camera as a first step towards implementing this solution.
The question now arises:
Will healthcare facilities and professionals support Dr. Calhoun’s call to action? Implementing body cameras in medical settings would require significant changes in policies, protocols, and privacy considerations.
It would also necessitate addressing potential challenges such as data storage, patient consent, and ensuring the appropriate use of footage.
However, the potential benefits of increased transparency, accountability, and the reduction of racial disparities in healthcare make this proposal worthy of serious consideration and further discussion.
Ultimately, the goal is to create an inclusive and equitable healthcare system that treats all patients with respect, dignity, and fairness, regardless of their race or ethnicity.
Dr. Calhoun’s call for the use of body cameras serves as a crucial step towards achieving this vision and combating racism within the medical field.
It is up to healthcare institutions, policymakers, and professionals to actively engage in this conversation, examine the feasibility of implementing such measures, and work towards creating a healthcare system that truly serves and protects the well-being of all individuals.
Black Wall St. MediaContributor